Safety recruit Garret Wallow could have chosen any of several big-time college football programs, but TCU ended up the big winner in his recruitment.
Wallow, from New Orleans, (John Curtis), committed to the Horned Frogs this past weekend, becoming just the eighth member of Gary Patterson’s 2017 class. He committed to TCU over 20 other offers, so he’s certainly a sought-after defensive recruit in this cycle.
Michigan, Nebraska, Northwestern, Arizona, Arkansas, Cincinnati, Duke, Purdue, Vanderbilt and Toledo were among the schools to have offered him, an indication of his potential as a collegiate-level defender.
Yes, he’s just a three-star, according to the 247Sports Composite, but keep in mind that star rankings don’t always matter. Offer lists can be just as illuminating in regard to a player’s ultimate potential. Coaches such as Jim Harbaugh, Mike Riley and Bret Bielema, among others, thought he was worth a scholarship.
Michigan is a program with national championship aspirations, and Nebraska and Arkansas are Top 25 teams. Also consider the fact that schools such as Northwestern, Duke and Vanderbilt have strict academic standards, so offers from those respective programs tell us about Wallow’s academic life. By the looks of it, he’s the total package as a recruit. He’s good enough to be courted by the very best in the country as well as some of the most prestigious academic institutions in college sports.
TCU is getting a well-rounded player, and that’s something the rankings just can’t indicate.
That doesn’t mean rankings aren’t helpful though, because they do at least provide a baseline for evaluation. According to the industry generated 247Sports Composite, Wallow is the No. 60 safety in the 2017 class and the No. 37 recruit from the state of Louisiana.
While those are average rankings at best, depth at safety is very impressive this season and Louisiana does have a history of churning out big-time college recruits. This cycle alone features players such as LSU commits Tyler Shelvin (four-star DT), Lowell Narcisse (four-star dual-threat QB) and Patrick Queen (four-star ATH), and in the past we’ve seen players like Tyron Johnson, Derrius Guice, Leonard Fournette, Cam Robinson, Speedy Noil, Malachi Dupree come out of the Pelican State.
To be ranked from Louisiana means that Wallow is among good company.
“I would like to thank all the coaches and recognize the talent God gave me,” Wallow said when announcing his commitment. “Without him, my mother, and my family…none of this is possible.”
Today’s U Scouting Report
At 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, Wallow has prototypical size for a safety in his senior season.
He’s the type of safety who can and will “bring the hammer.” He’s a downhill player who knows how to get from point A to point B quickly. He doesn’t waste any steps and takes great angles of pursuit, which is something you don’t often see in a young defender.
Though Wallow probably isn’t the fastest player on any given football field, he has football speed. He knows how to close, and when he gets to the ball carrier he has many moments where he displays sound tackling ability. One thing he needs to work on is gathering himself before the tackle — because not every play at the college level is going to be “hit stick worthy” — but it’s hard to blame him for being aggressive or the speed at which he plays. Coaches can teach discipline. They can’t teach effort.
Wallow has the strength to fight through the wash and take on blockers, and he’s not just an edge, sideline-to-sideline defender as a safety. He can get up in the box and play like a linebacker, which makes it pretty easy to project him to strong safety at the college level. He can come up and meet a blocker or runner at the point of attack, but at the same time he’s comfortable in open space.
The term “heat seeking missile” gets thrown around a lot when talking about big-hit defenders, but for Wallow it’s a very apt description. He diagnoses the play quickly and gets to the point of attack even faster. As long as he works on discipline so he doesn’t get juked at the college level, he projects to be a very good defender for TCU.
According to Maxpreps, Wallow notched 72 total tackles (61 solo), 6.5 tackles per game, one sack, one QB hurry and five passes deflected in his junior season. So far in 2016, he leads his team in tackles with 19 and tackles for loss with three.