Ohio State defensive tackle Haskell Garrett not picked in NFL draft, lands with Titans

Bill Rabinowitz
The Columbus Dispatch

Life hasn’t always gone smoothly for Haskell Garrett, and the Ohio State defensive lineman’s pursuit of his NFL goal won't begin as desired.

Garrett was not taken among the 262 players taken in the seven rounds of the NFL draft. He has agreed to sign as a free agent with the Tennessee Titans, a source told The Dispatch. Tennessee, whose coach is former Buckeye player and assistant coach Mike Vrabel, picked offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere in the third round on Friday.

"God has a plan for me, I appreciate all the love and support BuckeyeNation!!!" Garrett later tweeted. "Got the biggest chip on my shoulder more than ever. Blessed to be a Tennessee Titan!"

Only one Buckeye defensive player was drafted following a season in which Ohio State’s defense often struggled. Defensive end Tyreke Smith went to Seattle in the fifth round on Saturday.

Other undrafted players included running back Master Teague, who announced he was signing with the Chicago Bears.

Garrett was projected to be a mid- to late-round pick. But he’s used to overcoming struggles.

More:Haskell Garrett turns potential tragedy into triumph with breakthrough season

“I'd say without the adversity, I'm not who I am today,” Garrett said at the NFL combine. “It really fuels and drives me.”

Garrett was born in Vermont. After his father died when Haskell was 13, his mom moved the family to Hawaii before an eventual move to Las Vegas.

Garrett signed as a four-star prospect with Ohio State, but struggled early in his career to make an impact.

Garrett was looking to make a breakthrough in 2020 when on Aug. 30, he was shot in the face while trying to break up an altercation.

He was fortunate to avoid serious injury and surprised almost everyone by playing in the Buckeyes’ season-opener against Nebraska despite not being able to eat solid food.

“I was highly motivated,” Garrett said. “I trained my mind most definitely and wanted to be back with my brothers on that field.”

More:Ohio State football defensive tackle Haskell Garrett receives Polynesian Player of the Year award

He not only played in 2020 but was often a dominant player, earning first-team All-American honors by CBS Sports.

Garrett took advantage of the extra season of eligibility granted by the NCAA because of COVID to return to OSU in 2021. He returned a fumble for a touchdown in the opener against Minnesota but battled an ankle injury much of the season.

He didn’t miss any games until he decided to opt out of the Rose Bowl, but the injury affected his play and apparently his draft stock.

Bill Rabinowitz covers Ohio State football for The Columbus Dispatch. Contact him at brabinowitz@dispatch.com or on Twitter @brdispatch.

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