Defensive tackle Haskell Garrett pursued a degree in sociology while attending Ohio State. At the NFL Combine, he gave the media a glimpse into his cerebral way of processing the game of football and properly preparing for tasks at hand.
He claimed that "80 percent" of his game is dedicated to the mental side of it, even more than the physical side that he seems to dominate just as well.
"How to attack a guy, how he goes throughout the game, how to prepare – just preparation," Garrett said Friday. "I play mentally for the most part. If you got confidence and anticipating instead of reacting, you can play the game a lot faster. So that's why I truly try to prepare throughout my game."
Garrett has had a lot of time to prepare for the Combine and the NFL Draft coming up in April. The former Buckeye was in Columbus, Ohio, for five years, returning for his graduate season in 2021 after gaining an extra year of eligibility due to the 2020 season affected by COVID.
He used the last two seasons of his collegiate career to make a name for himself – totaling 42 total tackles, 7.5 sacks, two forced fumbles – with one returned for a touchdown – and a First Team All-Big Ten selection.
He believes his decision to return to Ohio State coming off their 2020 CFB National Championship appearance was vital in raising his draft stock.
"I feel like it went great, both as a leader and as a person," Garrett said regarding his super senior season. "I did exactly what I came back to do. I set new records for myself, I made more sacks than I did the previous year ... and I lived [up] to expectations."
The expectations have been high for Garrett, even before he arrived at The Ohio State University. He was recruited by the Buckeyes out of Bishop Gorman High School, a perennial football powerhouse in Las Vegas, Nevada. Garrett moved to Las Vegas from Vermont after his father passed away when he was 13.
"I can't say enough great things about Haskell," said Kenny Sanchez, Garrett's head coach at Bishop Gorman. "Great player and great human being, he's a very high character guy. Never had any problems with him and everybody loved him on campus. It's rare to find someone with that much ability and humility. Ten's across the board."
Garrett has moved back home to Las Vegas, training there as he prepares for the draft. He said he enjoyed his days of reigning over Nevada high school football, and is not opposed to playing in the Sports and Entertainment Capital of the World once more.
"It was a great experience playing there in high school," said Garrett. "I love being home, being in that environment, being around friends and family and being focused and locked in.
"Everybody has this perception about Las Vegas – about the Strip and everything – but Las Vegas is actually a good town and place for me and my development, and it helped me get to where I am today"
It's no surprise that the Las Vegas Raiders will be looking to strengthen their interior run defense this season. Perhaps all Garrett will need to do is drive 15 miles south to go play for the team that drafts him.
Take a look back at current Raiders' appearances at past NFL Scouting Combines.