BRADENTON – Garrett Ware is a bright young mind that flourishes using his brain on and off the football field.
Planning on going to medical school to become an orthopedic surgeon, the Manatee senior will earn his associate’s degree from the State College of Florida when he graduates high school.
Ware, who stands at 6’2″, 215 lbs. packed on 15 lbs. muscle this off-season. In his second season as a linebacker, he has played free safety, strong safety, tight end and fullback previously at Manatee. He also serves as the team’s long snapper.
This is Ware’s second full season as a starter. He mixed in as a rotational tight end as a sophomore before making the switch to outside linebacker a year ago. Now, he is right at home at inside backer.
“Last year, it was a little weird at first. I was playing outside linebacker so I was out in coverage a lot more,” Ware told Prep Sports Scouting. “I’m a much better instinctive linebacker this year than I was last year. I was super technical last year and really tried to do my job.”
In fact, last season marked the first time Ware suited up as a linebacker. Opening up his football career at age 8, he spent most of his time as a center and one year at fullback.
This year’s spring game against Countryside served as a confidence booster for him. Ware had 10 plus tackles and says he felt really comfortable in the middle.
He’s taken his game a step further after totaling 55 tackles, five pass breakups, an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery as a junior.
Ware has recorded 103 tackles (77 solo), an interception and a forced fumble. He’s posted 10 or more tackles in all but three games this season which included a 17 tackle performance three weeks ago against Riverview.
At 7-3, the Hurricanes have a tall task on their hands heading to Orlando Dr. Phillips this Friday night in the 8A region quarterfinal.
Ware says his group is looking for revenge after being bounced from the postseason a year ago by these same Panthers in a 40-21 loss in the region semifinal. Manatee beat Dr. Phillips two years ago, 24-21 in the region final during Ware’s sophomore campaign.
“The mindset is to do your job and stay home,” he said. “They are going to try to do what they did against us last year where they tried to run it down our throats.
“I think we are a little more solid than last year. If we can close out the run and force them to pass we can get the ball back in our offense’s hands. It’s going to be a heck of a football game.”
On a daily basis, Ware and his defense face some high-quality talent in athlete Tarique Milton and running backs Keyon Fordham and Joshua Booker. It’s something he says helps prepare them a lot for Friday nights.
“Tarique first of all, I don’t match up with him a whole lot, but he’s going to get open,” he said. “It’s good competition for our defensive backs to go up against him. No one has a Tarique Milton, it’s not going to happen.”
On Fordham and Booker:
“It’s perfect because Keyon is blazing fast and super shifty side to side. It teaches us to be sound fundamentally and wrapping up.”
“It’s great to go against Josh because some of these teams will have guys like him who are 220 lbs. We get to go up against Josh every day in practice and see what that is like to hit that big body. It prepares us both ways for either a speed back or a power back.”
As for Ware’s biggest strengths, he pointed to his play recognition.
“I study a lot of film,” he said. “Last year, I was the only junior starter at linebacker. I know team’s tendencies and can read most plays.”
He’s aiming to improve his wrap up ability with his feet to prevent extra yards.
Currently, Ware holds two offers from Stetson and Valparaiso. He’s also drawn interest from Davidson and Dartmouth.
He has made it to a couple game invites at Stetson and went on an official visit to Davidson as well. Ware says he’s been talking a lot with Davidson as of late.
Ware realizes the NFL might not be a plausible option, but of course, if he had the opportunity he would run with it. Either way, he has a great plan ahead.
“Football for me has always been a good tool to get into schools and earn my education,” he said. “I want to be a biomedical science major and end up going to medical school to be an orthopedic surgeon.”
When it comes to presenting yourself as a person and athlete, Garrett Ware does that beyond well. He’s very personable and clearly enjoys what life has thrown his way.
Expect a fierce battle on Friday night in the region quarterfinal against Dr. Phillips. Ware is headed towards big things as a football player at the next level and as a surgeon in the medical world. This is a smart kid.
Favorite players to watch – Carolina Panthers LB Luke Kuechly, Alabama LB Rueben Foster and Clemson LB Ben Boulware
Playlist before games – Eminem (Lose Yourself)
Favorite movies – Friday
Favorite TV shows – Friends
Fun fact about you that you think no one knows – “I’m going to graduate with an associate’s degree when I graduate from high school.”
Nickname (s) from teammates or friends – “G-Money”
Game film: Ware’s Hudl tape
In case you missed it:
Jake Perper is the scout for Prep Sports Scouting. Make sure to follow along for all the updates on Twitter: @JakePerper.
If you have any questions or comments feel free to write below or email Jake at email@example.com.