By Ross Forman
Myles Garrett was almost wearing burnt orange and white. He was almost attending the University of Texas, flashing that familiar ‘Hook ‘em Horns’ two-finger salute and praising the school’s prized mascot, Bevo.
His sister was having none of that, though.
Brea Garrett, his older sister, is an NCAA champion in track & field (weight throw category), the first such champion in Texas A&M history.
But it was Texas that was the first to offer Myles a college offer.
“I was thinking about [going to] Texas. [Then] she said, ‘There’s no way you’re going to Texas,’” Myles said.
Brea ultimately sold Texas A&M on her brother.
“It was fun having her at school … I just tried to not get showed up by her,” he said, laughing. “Everyone in the Garrett family is athletic, including her. I think she [can] run faster than me, but we’d have to see about that.”
Garrett jokes that his strength is running short distances, sprints – not a 26.2-mile marathon.
“I could do it, but there won’t be any records broken,” he said with a laugh.
Garrett attended Martin High School in Arlington, Texas, where he was a letterman in football, basketball and track. He had 19.5 sacks as a senior and ultimately moved to College Station.
He was a freshman in 2014 and the team played in the Liberty Bowl after the season.
As a sophomore in 2015, Garrett led the SEC with 12 sacks, and he recorded 57 total tackles (36 of them solo), 18.5 tackles for loss, 7 quarterback hurries, 5 forced fumbles, and 1 blocked punt. He was a first-team All-American selection and the Bill Willis Award-winner as the top defensive lineman.
In 2016, as a junior, Garrett tallied 8.5 sacks, 32 total tackles (18 of them solo), 15 tackles for loss, 10 quarterback hurries, 2 forced fumbles, and 1 pass breakup in an injury-plagued season, yet he still was a unanimous consensus All-American designation by being voted to the first-team by the Walter Camp Football Foundation, the Football Writers Association of America, the American Football Coaches Association, The Sporting News, the Associated Press, Fox Sports, Pro Football Focus, and SB.
Garrett is now projected to one of the first few players selected in the 2017 NFL Draft.
However, Garrett said in early-2017 that he plans to skip the Draft and just watch the event at home in Texas with family and friends.
College “was a lot of fun,” Garrett said. “I went out and just played the way I could. They put me in position to make plays, and I did. I had a great time with my teammates.
“It was a great time playing at A&M. We had a big game every week; we couldn’t take anyone for granted, so we went out there and attacked every single week.”
None bigger than in-state rival Texas, or SEC foes Alabama and LSU.
“Those games always were competitive,” he said. “There was a lot of [trash-talking] before and during games, so you have to back up what’s said. In SEC games, everyone trash-talks.”
Garrett certainly backed up any words about his career.
He played in the 2015 Music City Bowl and the 2016 Texas Bowl.
“The connections that I made with my teammates, my coaches … those are memories that will last a lifetime. Stats will be broken, but the friendships will always remain,” Garrett said.
So what about the NFL Draft?
“I don’t really worry too much about it,” he said.
Garrett appeared in Houston in mid-February, signing autographs at the 31st annual Tristar Productions Sports Collectors Show, held at NRG Arena.
Garrett said he “didn’t know” the hobby is as big, wide-reaching as it is.
“There were a lot of autographs to sign, but it was a lot of fun,” he said. “I’m not much of a collector, though I dabble here and there.”
His collection includes autographs from Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan.
“I really want to see Mike Tyson [because] I’m a big boxing fan,” he said upon arrival at the Tristar show.
As for signing autographs, Garrett modestly replied that he signs “here and there.”
No doubt that total, and his demand, will sky-rocket over the next few months.
Want more Myles Garrett? Here goes:
On Texas A&M: “You can get a great education and it is a football program with amazing facilities. You definitely will improve as a football player at A&M.”
On his uniform No. 15: “In high school, my defensive line coach challenged me to get 15 sacks in a season. My junior year in high school, I had 11. My senior year, I had 21. So it’s 15 (sacks) per year, minimum.”
On his role-models: His parents. “They raised me; they love me, took care of me and have always wanted what’s best for me. They’ve always been there for me, every single step of the way. From making me breakfast (while growing up) to taking me to practice. You have to have respect for your parents – love and respect them, no matter what.”
Another role-model: Muhammad Ali. “He was the people’s champion, not just someone who held the belt. He was the guy who everyone loved and respected because of how he carried himself out of the ring. He loved people, especially kids. He loved putting a smile on others’ faces, regardless of who you were, where you came from. He treated everyone the same, always.”
On dinosaurs: “I’ve always loved dinosaurs, ever since I first watched “Jurassic Park.” My mother put it on (to watch) and I’ve been addicted ever since. My whole life, I have always wanted to be a paleontologist.”
Ross Forman is a freelance contributor to Sports Collectors Digest. He can be reached at Rossco814@aol.com.