Tavares Garner (photo by the author)
Some prospects delay their recruitments to wait for offers, but that wasn't the case for a recent A&M pledge.
It's often said of the best defensive backs that a short-term memory is an absolute requirement of the position -- a mistake has to be left behind, not lingered upon.
For Texas A&M commit Tavares Garner of Alvin (TX) Manvel, such was the case with his recruitment.
A longtime Texas Tech commit who saw interest rise sharply during the spring evaluation period, the 5-11, 170-pound Garner decommitted and took several camp visits before settling on Texas A&M.
SB Nation caught up with Garner over the weekend to discuss what went down prior to his pledge.
What happened at the LSU camp following his decommitment?
"I had fun and performed well at the camp, so I should have earned a scholarship, but I didn't so I went to the next one," said the physically-impressive prospect.
What about the Texas camp?
"They loved me," he said of the Texas coaching staff. "They said my footwork was on point and that I have good hips. The 1-on-1s went good and the 7-on-7 went good, but at the end of the day they talked to me and said they wanted to evaluate me more during the fall. After that, I went on to the next one." A short-term memory worthy of an elite defensive back, a rarefied air in which Garner is proving he belongs.
The Manvel product also clarified previous comments about what happened with his decommitment from Texas Tech, when he was quoted as saying that he was "looking forward to decommitting." According to Garner, that wasn't the case.
"The LSU media was talking to me and asking me if I would decommit if offered by LSU." he said on Sunday. "I said, 'Naw I'm just looking forward to competing with different players,' and they there was a misunderstanding and they took it wrong."
And despite comments to ESPN that the quote from the Rivals LSU site damaged his relationship with the Texas Tech coaching staff, Garner said that wasn't the case either.
"It didn't really do anything to my relationship with the Texas Tech coaches, it was just too far from home, so I decided to stay closer."
Garner mentioned proximity again later in the interview in talking about Texas A&M. "That's where I want to be and it's close to home, so it feels real good," he said.
Aside from proximity, the move to the SEC also played a role, as it has for many prospects in the impressive Aggie recruiting class. "A whole bunch," Garner said about how much the move impacted his decision. "The SEC produces a lot of NFL cornerbacks," the member of Team USA pointed out.
Prior to the visit that spurred his commitment, Garner didn't have a great level of familiarity with the A&M campus, having only made one trip to College Station. However, his initial impression was one that helped out the Aggies. "I went to a camp my sophomore year, but it was more just to see how a college camp would be. I had fun at the camp and started thinking about going to Texas A&M."
The next foray to Aggieland was the clincher.
"I committed to coach Sumlin in his office after he was talking with me," said the physical cornerback. "He took me around the facilities and I spoke with the academic coordinator and everything and fell in love."
And for those concerned that Garner's commitment won't stick this time, he put those fears to rest.
"I'm at Texas A&M and there's where I'll stay solid to."
Confidence is a requirement for cornerbacks and it's clear Garner has it as he assessed his skill set and discussed his best attributes as a corner.
"Height, weight, and my speed. I'm very physical and confident. I'll get in a receiver's head and keep them on their toes."
But Garner isn't a one-dimensional cornerback who can only excel when playing press coverage. In fact, he's taken the worlds of an all-time great to heart. "I'm a man coverage guy -- I can get in their face, but I can play every coverage," he opined. "Like Deion Sanders says, 'You can't have any buts in the sentence when they talk about a DB.' Right now, I'm working on not having any of those 'buts.'"
Garners has certainly proven that he can quickly put the past where it belongs and that will only serve him in good stead on the field as he transitions to college football at Texas A&M.