Ohio State defensive tackle Haskell Garrett recovering, could return soon to practice

Joey Kaufman
Buckeye Xtra
Ohio State defensive tackle Haskell Garrett adjusts his jersey during a game against Minnesota in October 2018. [Joshua A. Bickel/Dispatch]

Ohio State defensive tackle Haskell Garrett could soon rejoin the football team for practices, coach Ryan Day said Thursday afternoon.

Garrett has been recovering since he was shot in the face last month near campus and spent two days at the Wexner Medical Center.  

“It’s going to be a little while before he can go through contact,” Day said during his weekly radio show on 97.1 The Fan, “but we think we’re going to get him back.”

Day did not offer additional clarity on the timeline for Garrett's return or whether he would be available by the time the Buckeyes are scheduled to start their season when they host Nebraska on Oct. 24.

Garrett suffered a gunshot wound through both cheeks when he was attempting to break up a fight between two people on Aug. 30, he told police.

“He’s doing well, all things considered,” Day said. “He’s very, very lucky. It was a tough moment for all of us, a very scary moment. But we’re happy to say the he’s doing well and he’s on the road to recovery.”

A senior, he has been expected to compete to fill one of the starting interior spots on the Buckeyes’ defensive line. Last season, he was a backup behind Jashon Cornell, who graduated.

If Garrett remains limited in his return, Day identified other defensive tackles, including Antwuan Jackson and Tommy Togiai, as prime candidates to start. Jackson is a senior and former junior-college transfer, while Togiai is a junior and considered by teammates to be one of the strongest players on the team.

“Those are guys that have played a little bit now,” Day said. “They’ve been in the program for a couple of years. They’re going to have to step up.”

Defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs offered similar comments earlier this when asked by reporters about the status of Garrett.

He also said he was impressed with his recovery. In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, he feared the worst.

“I would have thought season over, career over,” Coombs said, “and I don't think that's true.”