Ohio State defensive tackle Haskell Garrett looks to become the third Vermont-born college football player to win a national championship when the Buckeyes play Alabama on Monday in the College Football Playoff championship game.
According to Vermont Sports History, Stats and Information, the only two to accomplish the feat were Montpelier’s Bob Yates in 1959, when his Syracuse club was crowned champions, and Burlington’s Jeff Hughes, a member of the 1970 and 1971 Nebraska championship teams.
Yates and Hughes both played in an era where Associated Press and Coaches polls decided the national champion. Currently, the College Football Playoff, a two-game single elimination tournament with four teams, decides a national champion.
Garrett was born in Burlington and lived there until he was 13 years old, at which point he moved to Hawaii, following the death of his father. He found his way to Nevada, where has was a member of a national powerhouse program at Bishop Gorman.
At Bishop Gorman, he helped the Gaels to a 43-0 record during his three seasons in the blue and orange. The team won state and national championships all three years he was at the school.
During his senior season, he had 54 tackles, 20 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks. For his high school career, he racked up 56 tackles for a loss and 25 sacks.
Coming out of high school, he was a top 50 player overall in his recruiting class and a top 10 defensive tackle, earning 4-star prospect status.
His first season with the Buckeyes was 2017-18, where he played in eight games. He played in 14 his sophomore year, 11 his junior and eight in this COVID-shortened season.
Garrett has had his best college season this year, with 19 of his 39 career tackles coming in 2020-21. He also had his first two collegiate sacks this year.
One of the big highlights of his senior year was his interception and touchdown. On a play against Michigan State, he tipped a pass from MSU quarterback Rocky Lombardi and caught it in the end zone, earning an interception and score.
In December, Garrett was named a first team All-American by CBS Sports, one of two Big Ten players who made the team.
Just being on the field is a blessing for Garrett after he was shot in the face on Aug. 30 breaking up an altercation. According to Buckeyextra.com, the bullet went through one cheek, out the other and through his teeth and tongue.
He was cleared to play just four days before Ohio State’s opening game in October against Nebraska, according to the Buckeyextra story.
Ohio State bested Clemson 49-28 in the College Football Playoff semifinals on Jan. 1, while its title game opponent Alabama beat Notre Dame 31-14 in the semifinals.
The Buckeyes have won eight national championships in their program’s history, with the last coming in 2014, when Ohio State beat Oregon 42-20.
The championship game is scheduled for Monday at 8 p.m. in Miami, Florida.
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