Classmates at Charlotte Christian can usually be found chatting with Garrett Shrader the Monday following a game, but normally, there’s not a sea of people huddled around the quarterback. That’s because the Monday following the game versus High Point Christian wasn’t just any other game.
During the game, Garrett hurdled over a defender and scrambled for the 1st down. That one play went viral. He was featured on Bleacher Report’s Instagram page where the video has been watched over 700,000 times. He was in the news on ESPN. He even made SportsCenter’s Top 10. Needless to say, people across America were talking about Garrett. But, when you asked him about crazy situation, he just smiled and shrugged it off.
“Don’t get me wrong, I definitely thought it was pretty cool. My cousin sent me the highlight and I watched it about 15 times. But, there’s so many more plays,” he said.
That sums up who Garrett Shrader is as an athlete. He doesn’t thrive off the attention that comes with being a top recruit and certainly doesn’t use it to elevate himself above others. With no Instagram and a Twitter than he mainly uses to update his recruitment or retweet teammate’s offers, he does his best to stay out of the spotlight. Why? Because for Garrett, it’s not about the lifestyle that comes with being a starting quarterback; it’s just about the game itself. That’s what he loves.
His love for the game started at six years old from the very first time he picked up a football.
“That’s when I knew I was going to play football over other sports,” Garrett revealed.
Garrett’s dream of playing football at the collegiate level is one of the reasons he decided to transfer to Charlotte Christian School at the beginning of high school.
Charlotte Christian boasts an extremely impressive coaching staff overseen by head coach Jason Estep which includes many former NFL players: Eugene Robinson, Pete Metzelaars, Joe Jacoby and John Kasay.
“What makes them special is the experiences they’ve had; they’ve made it to the highest point where football can take you - the NFL - and they’ve succeeded and had great careers. Receiving advice from them and having them teach us what they know is priceless,” said Garrett.
With that said, there’s more to it than just football for Garrett. Coming from a large, bustling public school, he’s found that he vastly prefers the atmosphere of a small private school.
“I love the environment and the culture. It allows us to go out on Friday nights and play in front of all our friends. I mean, we pretty much know everybody in the school,” he said.
Garrett quickly found his place in the Knights offense. As a freshman, he lead the team to the first round of the playoffs before losing to Davidson Day School, who would go on to win the title. As a sophomore, the team came within seconds of winning the championship but fell short and lost to rival Charlotte Latin School. By junior year, Garrett was over coming close - he wanted to finish the job.
“We could have easily won it my sophomore year, we just didn’t get it. That motivated everyone in the offseason,” Garrett said.
The Knights lost in week 1 against Charlotte Catholic, but they wouldn’t lose another game for the rest of the season. After battling day in and day out at practice and putting it all on the line during games, the Knights finally made it back to the state championship.
While fans were anxious, the team was not.
“Nobody had to give a pregame speech. We were all ready to go,” he said.
The score was 13-7 in favor of the Knights at halftime, but the team regrouped and went on to score 34 consecutive points as they defeated Providence Day School to win the coveted trophy.
“All we had to do was wear them down. With the schemes we were running, it was just a matter of time before we got the best of them. Time told whose offseason paid off better,” he said.
The answer: Charlotte Christian.
One question that still awaited an answer was which college football program would land this star dual-threat quarterback.
In the beginning, the recruiting process was very nerve wracking and Garrett recalled how big of a deal every small conversation with a coach was. Things changed after he received his first offer from Louisville in January 2017.
“After that, things started picking up a little bit. I got more offers and it went from the mindset of trying to get any coach to notice me to simply feeling it out and seeing which coaches I liked. After you get a couple of offers, you don’t have to beg people to notice you. You start to figure out who wants you, and of those schools who want you, which of those top schools is where you want to be,” said Garrett.
Garrett wrestled with where he wanted to be for months, but with patience came clarity and on April 3, 2018 he committed to play for Mississippi State University.
The coaching staff at Mississippi State wanted Garrett to know he had their attention and they pulled out all the stops.
On his first visit, he walked into the athletic center and was greeted by the entire staff - about 50 people - ringing cowbells.
“I’m not gonna lie, I was a bit scared. It was loud,” he said with a laugh.
After walking around and meeting everyone, Garrett quickly warmed up to the staff.
This was just one example to prove how much Coach Joe Moorhead (who previously recruited Garrett at Penn State) wanted him on the roster. He wanted Garrett so much that he called and extended an offer the first day he arrived as coach in Starkville.
The appeal of the school went beyond football. As of now, Garrett is looking to major in agricultural business and Mississippi State being a large agriculture university was another huge draw.
Never being overly confident in his abilities, Garrett knows there is a lot to improve on before he arrives at college in 6 months.
The list of things he plans to work on include getting faster and bigger and stronger, his footwork, the velocity of his throws, his deep balls and most importantly, getting healthy.
You already know Garrett lead his team to the state championship last November, but what I didn’t mention is that he played the last two and a half games with a torn labrum.
It happened after a few repetitive hits during the conference championship game. Garrett ignored the pain and finished out the game. He went hunting the next day and quickly realized he was in too much pain to lift his arm.
“It caused me to miss a few deer,” Garrett joked.
That’s when he told his dad and Coach Estep that something was wrong with his shoulder. Coach Estep restricted him from throwing in the last 2 weeks of practice, but Garrett still started in both games. He played through excruciating pain because of what was on the line - he wanted his team to be champions.
Garrett underwent surgery in December and his recovery is right on schedule. Each day he gets closer to being 100% healthy and he can’t wait to get back on the field with his teammates in August.
“I want to win another championship,” he replied when asked about his number one goal for the upcoming year.
Garrett is the ideal quarterback for any school - a coach’s dream leader. He doesn’t get caught up in the hype, doesn’t get in trouble after hours and never puts himself before the team.
The road ahead won’t be easy. The SEC is the most talented conference in college football and he’s going to be facing top players in the nation, but that is what Garrett thrives off: “I’m a competitor. I don’t want hand-outs.”
Let it be known: Garrett Shrader is coming for it all.
Garrett’s advice: Work hard, keep your head down, keep grinding. Listen to people who are better than you and older than you. Watch them and be able to learn and take away different parts of their game. Figure out things they do and what you’re good at and try to incorporate it into your own.