'My story is still being written:' Haskell Garrett to continue comeback story at NFL Draft

Chris Pugh
The Columbus Dispatch

Ohio State defensive lineman Haskell Garrett's return to the football field and expected trip to the NFL after being shot in the face in 2020 will be one of the top, if not the very top "feel-good" stories of this weekend's NFL Draft.

Garrett remained at Ohio State for his fifth season and made a big impact this fall. Despite missing part of the season due to injury, his 5.5 sacks and seven tackles for loss led the Buckeyes and was Ohio State's only defensive player to earn All-Big Ten first-team honors. Three of the sacks came against Akron. He also recovered two fumbles.

He also earned All-American honors in 2021.

Here are four more interesting facts about Haskell Garrett.

Ohio State Buckeyes defensive tackle Haskell Garrett (92) signs Carmen Ohio after beating Minnesota Golden Gophers 45-31 in Huntington Bank Stadium at University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, MN on September 2, 2021.

Why did Haskell Garrett get shot?

On Aug. 30, 2020, Garrett was shot in the face overnight while trying to break up an altercation between a man and a woman in the University District.

The man had a gun and fired at Garrett. The bullet went in one cheek and out the other, through Garrett’s teeth and tongue.

“I just know I was trying to do the right thing and it just was unfortunate the way it panned out,” he told a reporter at the time. “That's really the only thing I want to comment about that night.”

Garrett worked hard to recover and ended up starting the season for the Buckeyes on Oct. 24 against Nebraska when the coronavirus-shortened season opened. He ended up the season with All-American honors. 

The defensive tackle was able to keep his perspective during his recovery. 

“My story is still being written,” Garrett said before the team's Big Ten Championship Game later that season. “All those people that endured my journey with me, it’s just so gratifying. That sense of success, it’s not just mine. It’s everybody’s. It’s like an investment. It’s paid off. Everything that my family and everybody around me has gone through, it’s just overwhelming.”

Where is Haskell Garrett projected to go in the NFL Draft?

In his mock draft, Vinnie Iyer of The Sporting News has Garrett going to Baltimore in the fourth round at No. 110. Matt Miller of ESPN has Garrett getting taken 216th overall by the Arizona Cardinals in his seven-round mock draft.

Ohio State Buckeyes defensive tackle Haskell Garrett (92) sacks Indiana Hoosiers quarterback Jack Tuttle (14) during the first quarter of the NCAA football game at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Ind. on Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021.

Haskell Garrett has had two big-guy touchdowns for Ohio State football

Garrett scored his first touchdown in 2020 as the Spartans were pinned deep in their own end zone following a punt. When Michigan State quarterback Rocky Lombardi threw a pass, Garrett tipped it in the air and came down with the ball in the end zone to help extend Ohio State's lead to 28-0. 

In 2021, Garrett helped propel the Buckeyes to a season-opening win over Minnesota after picking up a fumble following a sack by Zach Harrison and returning it 32 yards for a touchdown.

Ohio State Buckeyes defensive tackle Haskell Garrett (92) and defensive end Javontae Jean-Baptiste (8) celebrate a sack during the NCAA football game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Ind. on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021. Ohio State won 54-7.

Haskell Garrett was honored for Polynesian roots

Garrett was named the Polynesian College Football Player of the Year for this past season, the first Buckeye to receive the award. 

“I'm very blessed and honored to be receiving this award,” Garrett said in a recorded video message. “I want to give a great deal of thanks to my teammates, to my coaches. I wouldn’t be receiving this honor without you guys, and I appreciate everything you do for me, putting me in great positions and helping me excel as a great football athlete.

Garrett had been one of five finalists for the award during the 2020 season.