HOOVER, Ala. — The SEC’s top pass rusher would rather write poetry than tweet.
He penned his first poem at the age of eight while watching a Muhammad Ali, whom he is a “huge fan of.” Love is his biggest inspiration.
Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett is a renaissance man of sorts, wise beyond his years. Quitting Twitter didn’t take much effort for Garrett. He calls it a distraction and would rather focus on being more productive.
His play on the field and interests off it earned him a shoutout from SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey.
“Texas A&M defensive lineman Myles Garrett lives well beyond the game of football,” Sankey said. “He has an affinity like me for trying to read a book. His goal is one every two weeks. He writes poetry, which I do not. He left Twitter, which I did not, though I thought about it over the last year. Refrained from social media because he said this, quote: Getting better as a person, football player and leader is how I want to spend my time, end of quote.”
Garrett’s coach, Kevin Sumlin, describes his star defensive lineman as “interesting to say the least” and “low-maintenance.”
“He beats to a different drum,” Sumlin said. “I looked down on the plane today, he had some flip-flops on and a Marvel comic book hat. So that’s what we needed to see out of our toughest guy on defense. He’s just a different guy. He’s a great young man. … But there’s not a whole lot of guys left out there of what I term the low-maintenance, great players.
“Here’s a guy that just kind of does his — beats to his own drum. All he wants is maybe his headphones and to know what time practice is, when to go to class, when meetings are and when game time is and where’s the food. Other than that, I wish I had 80 guys like that instead of just a couple.”
Low-maintenance isn’t often a word associated with truly great players. Garrett was asked during how he avoided becoming a diva as his profile and level of fame has risen over the last two years.
He credits his dad and grandmother for raising him to be humble.
“I don’t see why I would,” Garrett said. “I’m just like any other guy. I put on my pads and tie up my shoes like anybody else. I just go out there and play to the best of my ability. That’s it.”
As a freshman, Garrett led Texas A&M in sacks (11.5), tackles for loss (14.0) and quarterback hurries (9) while finishing second among defensive linemen with 53 total tackles. He was named to the second-team All-SEC while also earning freshman All-American and All-SEC honors.
Garrett took his game up a level as sophomore, leading the SEC with 12.5 sacks. Garrett also led the league in tackles for loss (19.5) and forced fumbles (5).
He was named a first-team All-American by Walter Camp and the Football Writers Association. The next step for Garrett, in Sumlin’s eyes, is becoming better at stopping the run.
After this season, Garrett has a choice to make: jump to the NFL or return for his senior season. Early mock drafts have Garrett going in the top five of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Garrett said someone mentions the NFL to him at least twice a day. But he’s not tired of the talk yet and takes it in stride.
“I just tell them that’s in the future,” Garrett said. “All I can do is handle what’s around me at this time right now. That’s making sure I have a good season. Keep on working hard during the summer with fall camp coming up. With fall camp coming up, I have to make sure I’m working on my technique so I’m prepared for the first game, and I can make a big impact.”