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Posted: February 6, 2017 8:36 a.m.

For Eastside's Garrett Stevens, bigger is not better

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Eastside's Garrett Johnson was one of the county's most productive defensive football players in during the 2016 season.

Take a peak at Eastside linebacker Garrett Stevens, whether on field, or in person, and he’ll strike you as a no nonsense, no frills, blue collar kind of guy. 

That part of his personality bore through in his college choice. 

The 6-foot-1, 220 pound senior linebacker selected Birmingham Southern over larger schools such as West Georgia, Steston, Georgia Southern and Coastal Carolina. And he did it because he had more on his mind than just football. 

“For me personally, I think the larger school experience is just a little overrated,” he said. “It’s just not for me. I think a higher population school like a UGA or somewhere that’s got like 24,000 students, I just think that, to me, it’s just out of my range.” 

What is in his range is a place with a solid educational reputation, somewhere that he can further his football abilities and experiences and a place that’s just big enough to not know everybody but be intimately connected with people at the same time. 

“The education that Birmingham Southern offers is just top notch,” he said. “It’s one of the top places in Alabama. You can’t get any better, I don’t think, and that’s including Auburn and Alabama and all of those. They’re leading with the education, and just the environment. If you go to a bigger school, you’re just another number there. So I like the family part about being and Birmingham Southern.”

Stevens was an anchor for Eastside’s defense, helping the Eagles to a 7-3-1 mark in 2016 and another playoff appearance. A team captain, Stevens was credited with 120 tackles, including 40 solo stops, eight tackles for losses and a sack. 

He’s a part of a fairly ballyhooed senior class that includes talents such as Eric Stokes, a Georgia signee and Josh Davis, a James Madison pledge — James Madison won the FCS national championship this past season. But more than the accolades, Stevens says that the brotherhood found in his class is the truest hallmark of how great his time as an Eagle was. 

“I’ve definitely become better since being here and playing with these guys,” he said. “And not just in football, but just in life in general. It feels amazing being a part of this class and seeing all of the success that has come our way. I wouldn’t want to do it with any other group. I feel very, very blessed.”

 

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