If you asked Garrett Jostworth a few years ago if he saw himself playing college football, he might have given you a strange look. The 6-foot-4, 223-pound product of Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy put in a lot of work to reach his goal of trading football for educational dollars.
This week, Jostworth committed to play at Grand Valley State after having visited and earned an offer.
First Star Football Report spoke with the future Lakers receiver about his development and future at Grand Valley State University.
“Recruiting was confusing, and something so many of us had to adapt to,” said Jostworth. “It was a very confusing and complicated process for players and coaches. Many kids in the 2021 class went overlooked because of the lack of opportunities, no camps, an extended dead period, and schools bringing back many of their seniors with the NCAA giving everyone an extra year of eligibility because of Covid.”
While recruiting opportunities were limited, Jostworth knew there would also be challenges just playing his senior season. How difficult was this past season?
“For me, it was not hard at all,” he stressed. “There was a lot of adversity to overcome as you could lose your season overnight. The theme of every game was this could be the last. So we played our hearts out every game, and even though I only got to play in eight games this season, I enjoyed it so much as I was worried I would not even play in one. So I was excited to play.”
If you look back at where Jostworth started, you might understand why he was excited about his future as he is a self-made player.
“With the help of Adam Atallah and Joe Lucas at CHCA and Pat Coyne and Danny Chaille at Black Sheep Performance, I was able to develop myself physically and mentally. When I first walked into Black Sheep in May of my sophomore year, I was 160-pounds. When my junior year rolled around, I played at 195-pounds, and by the time I got to June before my senior year, I was 223-pounds. All this happened from having a proper diet designed by Pat and a lot of work in the weight rooms at CHCA and Black Sheep.”
While getting bigger, stronger, and faster played an enormous role in attracting college attention, Jostworth also had another major influencer in his life with one-on-one coaching from Garrett Celek.
“I was honored to have the opportunity to workout with Garrett Celek, explained Jostworth. “My mother and his mother worked together, so we had a connection. However, he was excited to train me and did it for free. You could tell from his experiences playing at Michigan State and in the NFL, he held a ton of knowledge both as a football player and as a man. He understands the small stuff better than anyone I’ve ever known. That is what separates you in the NFL because everyone in the NFL is great. But understanding the little things I felt brought my game to a full circle.”
With a handful of schools looking to snag Jostworth, one school that caught his attention was Grand Valley State University with its tradition of success. It was Jostworth who pursued his future despite feeling he might be on the outside looking in.
“Coach (Roy) Roundtree is a guy I was pursuing awhile,” he said. “While I received my offer pretty late, we started talking after I sent him a video of a virtual camp I’d done at CHCA with Coach Atalla and Garrett Celek in the summer. I made sure to get that to him as I had learned about Grand Valley State when one of my friends had been offered by them.
“When I started looking into the school and football program, I was impressed, and over time, we built a great relationship. While we talked a lot, I never thought I would get the chance to play for them as I thought they had their roster set. Once I got an opportunity to visit in person, we clicked. It was the same with Coach (Scott) Wooster and seemed as if we’d known each other forever. So I’m excited to be coached by both of them.”
Once on campus, Jostworth was able to see the photos from the internet up close and felt comfortable when he stepped on campus for the first time.
“When I arrived on campus, it hit me immediately,” stressed Jostworth. “There is an arch you go under, and the second I crossed that arch, I felt at home. The campus is gorgeous and very modern, and so many opportunities present themselves as you’re not far from Grand Rapids with many possible internships to advance your non-football career.
“As for football, Grand Valley State has a good enough name for itself with facilities that match up to many of the Mid American Conference schools I visited. The locker room was outstanding, along with the stadium and weight room. You can see they are very football-focused. My mother grew up not far from there, and I also like their apartment-style living at a very early age. So it checked almost every box for me and was a no brainer.”
While Jostworth was blown away during his visit, his father’s reaction surprised him the most.
“I was surprised by my dad,” he said. “While in my heart, I knew how much I loved Grand Valley State, he’d always pushed for me to go south and play. When we visited, it was snowing and by no means warm, but you could tell with everything we saw he was impressed, and I’d never heard him use the word “Wow” so many times in my life. He was super excited to be there and fell in love with everything about it. He also made sure the coaches knew how impressed he was with the things we saw, as he told them multiple times. So he loved it just as much as me, if not more. It was crazy and something I’ll always remember.”
Jostworth feels he’s already joined a new team as he bonds and makes new friendships with future teammates. He credits this to what head coach Matt Mitchell and his staff have built over time.
“The one thing I feel speaks volumes about Grand Valley State football is the culture,” he said. “The community is very welcoming, and we’re all excited for each other as well as for ourselves. The fact they’ve developed a program so team-oriented and built on a brotherhood speaks volumes. I feel this will be a tremendous recruiting class as I’m already in a group chat with 20-plus guys trading our X-Box and PS4 names and playing Call of Duty together. All this happened just after I announced my commitment as everyone started reaching out.”
You can see what the Grand Valley State coaches saw that made Garrett Jostworth a player they wanted in their program by watching the following senior highlights.