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by Gary Boutwell – LA Rams News | @RamsFansForum | www.laramsfans.com

Coming out of a small division II school, making the final cut, and landing on the Rams 53-man roster was a huge accomplishment for Garrett. He didn’t play his final year at Concordia due to the season being canceled as a result of the COVID pandemic. Picked in the 7th round as the 252nd pick, making the team was a feat in its own right. “You know, the biggest thing wasn’t that I came from Concordia-St. Paul, a small school. It was more that I missed the 2020 season, and getting adjusted to (playing again),” Garrett said of his challenge in training camp. “Every day, it was a big emphasis (to) just do better than the day before. I slowly got better.” As the 2021 season began, unfortunately, he ended up on the COVID/reserve which resulted in him missing the first week and finally being activated on September 22.

During his career at Concordia his stats were impressive, to say the least.

Career honors: Set NCAA Division II record for career forced fumbles with 15 … ranks third in NCAA Division II history with 1.30 sacks per game … set CSP career record and ranks 13th in Division II history & second in NSIC history with 36.5 sacks … ranks 14th in Division II football career history with 1.73 tackles for loss per game.

2020: East-West Shrine Bowl selection, 2021 game canceled … Street & Smith’s Division II Preseason All-America First Team … College Football America Preseason Starting Lineup Team.

2019: Harlon Hill Trophy nominee … Cliff Harris Award finalist … D2CCA, Associated Press, D2Football.com and Don Hansen All-America First Team … AFCA All-America Second Team … D2CCA and Don Hansen Super Region 4 Defensive Player of the Year … NSIC Defensive Player of the Year … All-NSIC South Division First Team … College Football America Yearbook Starting Lineup Preseason All-America Team … two-time NSIC Defensive Player of the Week with one D2Football.com National Defensive Player of the Week honor … team captain … ranked second in Division II football with 1.27 sacks per game … seven forced fumbles led the country and ranks third in Division II football history for a season … ranked ninth in DII and second in the NSIC with 20.5 tackles for loss … ranked 18th in the Northern Sun with 69 total tackles … had a DII football single game high in 2019 and seventh-most in a game in DII football history with 5.0 sacks against MSU Moorhead (10/12) while his 6.5 TFLs against MSUM are tied for 11th most in a DII football game all-time and a 2019 single game DII high while adding three forced fumbles which ties his own mark for third most in a single game in DII history … had a pair of 11 tackle performances, both resulting in CSP victories against MSU Moorhead and Bemidji State (10/26) … his NCAA DII-highs in TFLs, sacks and forced fumbles helped CSP tie the DII team record with 14.0 sacks while setting program records in team TFLs (22) and fewest rushing yards against (-97).

2018: Named All-America First Team by the AFCA and Associated Press, All-America Second Team by D2CCA while earning Third Team All-America honors from Don Hansen’s Football Gazette and honorable mention by D2Football.com … an All-Super Region 4 First Team selection by D2CCA and Don Hansen’s Football Gazette … named All-NSIC South Division First Team … named the CSP Bear of the Year (team MVP), Defensive Player of the Year, Big Bear of the Year (team OL/DL) and Team Leader Award … led NCAA Division II football with 1.65 sacks per game which ranks eighth in DII single season history … set the school record with 16.5 total sacks … ranked fourth nationally and second in the Northern Sun with 1.90 tackles for loss per game (19.0 total) … named the D2Football.com National Defensive Player of the Week & NSIC Defensive Player of the Week for his four sack performance, third most in a DII football game in the 2018 season in a 16-10 win at SMSU (11/3) … secured NSIC Defensive Player of the Week honors the next week with 3.5 sacks in a 24-20 loss at Winona State (11/10) in the season finale, the ninth-most sacks in a game on the year nationwide … finished sophomore year strong with 16.0 tackles for loss and 14.0 sacks in final six games of the year … finished the year fourth on the team with 53 total tackles and a team-leading three forced fumbles … has compiled 97 tackles, 28.0 tackles for loss, 22.5 sacks and eight forced fumbles in 17 career games across two seasons … named the team Defensive Player of the Week twice, vs Northern State and at SMSU and named the team Defensive Lineman of the Week twice, at UMary and at SMSU.

2017: Named NSIC Defensive Player of the Week and Concordia Defensive Player of the Week in week 10 at Augustana, leading the league with three sacks along with a new season high 3.5 tackles for loss with his efforts in the backfield leading to a Division II single game high three forced fumbles (third most in DII single game history), also finishing the game with nine total tackles … appeared in seven games for the Golden Bears as a defensive end, starting five … had at least a half of a tackle for loss in each game that he played …  racked up 44 tackles on the year, averaging 6.3 tackles per game … had nine tackles for loss (for 51 yards) and six sacks (for 45 yards), both bests on the team … also forced a team leading five fumbles and recovered a fumble … recorded a team high five quarterback hits and broke up three passes … had eight tackles, two sacks, and a pass breakup against Upper Iowa (10/7) … earned Concordia Defensive Player of the Week honors against Wayne State (10/28) with eight tackles, a tackle for loss, and a forced fumble.

During the 2021 pre-season, he certainly showed flashes and the ability to rush the passer, particularly in the Raiders and Chargers games.

So, why didn’t he get on the field more as a rookie? As head coach Sean McVay explains “Personnel groupings, him getting back comfortable in a rhythm and routine, and then just continuing to earn that trust from us as coaches,” McVay said. “But I’ve been pleased with Chris. He’s done a nice job. I wouldn’t look at him not being activated as anything negative other than, ‘Hey, it just kind of hasn’t worked out.’ That’s where some of those fringe spots when you’re talking about that 46th to 48th guy on game day. There’s a little bit of flexibility that is required, and the kicking game has a lot to do with that.”

After Von Miller left in free agency, the Rams clearly have a need for an edge rusher opposite Leonard Floyd. Will Terrell Lewis finally overcome his injury history? Will Justin Hollins fill that role? Will Chris Garrett seize the moment and step into the defensive line rotation on a regular basis? There is certainly talent on the Rams roster to fill that role, I expect all three to contribute with Garrett making a significant impact. The Rams are still loaded along the defensive line.

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