Few details have emerged from the night when the former Ohio State defensive tackle Haskell Garrett was shot in the face beyond the initial police report. But in an appearance on NFL Network on Tuesday morning, he recalled the night that changed his life forever.
At approximately 1 am on Aug. 30, 2020, Garrett returned to his off-campus apartment from a night out with friends when he realized he left his phone in his car. On his way to retrieve it, he saw a man and woman arguing across the street and was going to ignore it until he saw the man hit the woman.
“I saw another man hit a woman and one of our core values at The Ohio State is Title IX, respect women,” Garrett said. “Immediately, my instincts are to go help that woman.”
“I went over there, intervened and pushed him away from her. I look towards her and then when I looked back, everything just went black. Next thing I knew, I was picking myself up in a puddle of blood.”
Garrett immediately ran back to his apartment a few blocks away to get help from his roommate, former linebacker Pete Werner, who called an ambulance. Meanwhile, police who were called to the scene followed his blood trail to his apartment.
The bullet went in one cheek and out the other and Garrett lost five teeth. It required multiple surgeries, including dental work and bone grafts, but just 55 days later, he played in Ohio State’s 52-17 win over Nebraska and recorded his first career sack.
Garrett ultimately appeared in all eight games for the Buckeyes during the pandemic-shorted 2020 season and finished the year with 20 tackles, four tackles for loss, two sacks and an interception that he returned for a touchdown despite being on a liquid diet. He was then named a first-team All-American by CBS Sports.
Looking back now, Garrett credits his faith, family and teammates for helping him through a situation that could have ended his career – if not his life.
“I was determined,” said Garrett, who is set to hear his name called in this week’s NFL Draft. “I have been going through trials and tribulations my whole life, so this was just another way of God telling me, ‘You’re my best soldier, so you’re going to go through this and be an example for everybody.’
“I wasn’t about to let something like this distract me or get me off course from what was destined for me, and that was to be a starting defensive tackle for The Ohio State, so I was determined more than ever.”
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