Haskell Garrett made one of the biggest plays of Ohio State’s season-opening victory over Minnesota on Thursday.
The fifth-year defensive lineman recovered a fumble in the third quarter and returned it 32 yards for a touchdown to put the Buckeyes up 31-21. Ohio State (1-0, 1-0 Big Ten) went on to win 45-31.
The play came almost a year to the day that Garrett was shot in the face attempting to break up a fight in Columbus, Ohio. About two months after the incident, he returned to the field and put together an All-America campaign for the Buckeyes.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, Garrett tried to break up a fight between a man and a woman on Aug. 30, 2020, and the man shot him in the face. The bullet went through one cheek and out the other.
“I just know I was trying to do the right thing and it just was unfortunate the way it panned out,” he told the Dispatch. “That’s really the only thing I want to comment about that night.”
SpectrumNews1 reported that Garrett said he lost five teeth and had to have multiple surgeries, but as soon as he knew the injury wasn’t life-threatening, he worked to get back to the field.
“Post-surgery, I couldn’t do anything physically, but I could do stuff mentally,” Garrett said, according to SpectrumNews1. “Just sit there and talk with Coach (Johnson) and go over game plans. Just be prepared as possible. Like I said, when I came back to be ready to do anything and everything to help the team.”
Garrett made his season debut Oct. 24, 2020, against Nebraska and played the rest of the season. He finished the campaign with 20 tackles — 12 solo, eight assists — two sacks, an interception and a touchdown as he helped Ohio State reach the College Football Playoff national championship game.
Garrett opted to return to Columbus for one final season instead of go to the NFL. In Game 1 of 2021, Buckeyes coach Ryan Day and Ohio State fans saw how much of an impact he could have.