LB – 6-2, 204
Castro Valley, Calif. (Castro Valley HS)
Chip and Nick love athletes. Guys who can run and hit, who know how to play football.
Filling up roster spots, you can’t get a four and five-star recruit at every position and for every scholarship. USC does that, and how’s that working for them? Smart programs try to find players who can fill roles, and players with the potential, desire and work habits to grow. The diamonds in the rough.
In Carlyle Garrick, the Ducks got a young man with a huge upside, who was way under the radar because of an injury and rehabilitation. He hasn’t played much football since midway through his junior year due to an ACL tear and a lengthy rehab that included a second injury, but the promise he showed as a sophomore and junior may make him a real find. Prior to the injury he was getting attention from schools all over the West, but Oregon and Nick Aliotti didn’t give up on him.
Aliotti has built some tremendous coach-to-coach connections in Northern California. His brother Joe is an assistant coach at De La Salle High in Concord. The gregarious and energetic Oregon defensive coach has contacts all over the region, and Oregon’s roster in recent years is dotted with crucial Aliotti finds. Current Ducks Erick Dargan, Michael Clay, Nick Cole, Anthony Gildon, Avery Patterson, John Boyett, Derrick Malone and Cliff Harris were all guys Aliotti scouted and recruited. He’s wildly undervalued by Duck fans as a talent evaluator and recruiter.
Garrick is his latest find. For years, the Ducks have found linebackers and defensive backs that USC and UCLA didn’t have the good sense to pursue, and the 6-2 204-lb. freshman from Castro Valley could be next.
In his highlight film the first few minutes are devoted to Carlyle as a receiver. He’s tough in traffic and displays good hands. At :22 he goes up and snares a slant pattern thrown high between two defenders for a first down, a gritty, athletic play that reminds a Duck fan a little of Jeff Maehl. It tells you right away that Garrick is a football player, and on an 85-player roster, you need as many football players as you can sign. On the next play he gathers in a long bomb, a fly pattern with a defender on his shoulder, sheds him and the safety, 80-yard touchdown. On signing day, Chip Kelly said, “The more kids we can get, the Ifo’s, the Colt Lyerla’s, the kids…that can play multiple positions, the better off we’re gonna be.” Put Garrick in that category.
The film goes on and at 1:10 takes a ball over his right shoulder in the seam. A simple play, but another indication of athleticism and courage–many players have trouble with the ball over their shoulder, or let their eyes drift off the ball to the safety drawing a bead on them. Garrick makes the catch for a good gain. Doesn’t look like a breakaway threat on these plays, but again, a good, solid football player. Having a linebacker with hands like this is a real bonus. At 1:25 he’s open in the end zone. The quarterback, rolling right with a choice of receivers, looks for Carlyle. The throw is high and Garrick reaches up and catches it at its highest point, over a defender. There’s a lot to like in just a few moments of video, even more when he goes for a long catch-and-run at the two-minute mark. Linebackers who know where the end zone is play smarter on the field. You can develop him, knowing he has the right instincts. At 2:05 he grabs another slant pattern, hit immediately by two defenders. You see the toughness and dependability in the little things, and again on the next play on the tape. Two more nice catches on fade routes, then a hook route he scoops up down around his ankles, more good athletic ability. Breaks tackles on a pair of bubble screens, running tough. He goes over the middle, runs very well after the catch.
At four minutes the film switches to Garrick playing safety. He’s mobile and active, a good form tackler, a ball hawk. Linebackers who play safety in high school and get bigger have the potential to be sideline-to-sideline players. They recognize formations and plays well, used to seeing things develop. They can become the kind of players who play with an instinctive, attack-the-football edge. You can see that in him, the intensity and desire. At 4:18 he chases down a tailback on a long run, a hitter who won’t give up on a play. At 4:35 a textbook form tackle, wrapping the back up in space, driving him backward. At 4:40, fake reverse, roll right, Garrick stays home and is in perfect position, breaks up the pass. Next highlight, forced fumble, helmet right on the ball. Then a pick, reading the quarterback’s eyes. He has the right makeup to be a Duck, a guy who can run and hit. He’ll wear #26 for Oregon.
Ramonda Cutrer of brickhousetalk.com interviewed Garrick recently on his rehab and recovery. The interview offers some nice glimpses into his personality, character and values: