"It's my shot. That's all you can ask for."
Garrison, a first-team all-West Jersey Football League Diamond Division selection for the last two seasons, thought he might have an opportunity to play on scholarship at Wagner. But that fell through.
The 6-foot, 250-pound Garrison had played for a USA Football travel team last summer. His linebackers coach, Lance Jenkins, had a connection at West Virginia.
"I asked him to make a call," Garrison said of Jenkins, who contacted West Virginia coaches in late February. "It was such a long, slow process. But West Virginia saw my tape, they got me on a conference call, and they offered me this opportunity.
"Nothing is for sure, but it's a chance. I get a chance to play for a team that I've dreamed about playing for. That's amazing."
Remarkable rise. Camden sophomore Ron Johnson has been rocketing up the recruiting ranks.
The 6-31/2, 225-pound Johnson, who attends LEAP Academy but plays football for Camden, has received scholarship offers in the last three weeks from programs such as Michigan State, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Old Dominion, Pitt, and Temple.
"I'm very surprised," Johnson said. "I didn't think the recruiters would come to Camden, but they are coming to see a lot of us. It's very exciting. I go to school [at LEAP], and guys are like: 'I didn't know you were that good.' "
Johnson said he is being recruited as a defensive end/outside linebacker. He calls South Carolina his "dream school" because he loves its defensive line, especially Jadeveon Clowney, the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft.
Johnson is one of four Camden sophomores who have generated offers from Division I programs, joining wide receiver Brad Hawkins (Florida and Ohio State, among many others) and linebackers Jamal Holloway (Michigan State and Pitt, among others) and Dymelle Parker (Rutgers and Temple).
Next Level to nationals. A 7-on-7 team of South Jersey sophomores run by Next Level Quarterbacks has made the IMG Academy nationals, scheduled for June 20-22 in Bradenton, Fla.
The team features South Jersey players Tyree Rodgers and Jamal Parker of Camden Catholic, Adrian Clark and Ja'Meer Bullard of Woodrow Wilson, Kelvin Harmon of Palmyra, Lonnie Moore of Paul VI, Tyler St. Omer of Burlington Township, Nick Reyes of Pennsauken, Matt Vitale of Haddon Heights, Tommy Wyatt of Overbrook, and Aran Lee of Sterling.
Next Level Quarterbacks is a nonprofit organization and is seeking sponsorships to help finance the players' trip to Florida. Contact Marcus Hammond at email@example.com for more information.
This and that. Timber Creek has added linebacker Neal Nelson, a transfer from Buena. The 6-1, 225-pound Nelson, who will be a senior in September, has scholarship offers from Syracuse, Louisville, and Pittsburgh, among others.
Quarterback Trevor Osler, who led Cherokee to the South Jersey Group 5 title, will play for the College of New Jersey.
Pennsville's Dylan Cummings and Timber Creek's Dan Williams, who combined to pass for 5,868 yards and 63 touchdowns last season, might room together at Stevenson, a Division III program in Owings Mills, Md. They recently were together on a visit to the school.
Recent offers: Palmyra sophomore wide receiver Kelvin Harmon, from Rutgers; Camden Catholic all-purpose sophomore Tyree Rodgers, Temple; Glassboro junior defensive back Ronnie James, Syracuse; and Cedar Creek all-purpose sophomore Ahmir Mitchell, whose brother Damon is a freshman at Arkansas, from national champion Florida State.