Chayil Garnett kicked off the month of May having wrapped up several annual milestones. He capped the academic year at Auburn, spring football as a reserve quarterback and traveled back home to Lakeland, Fla.
The 6'3, 225-pound signal caller also elected to move on from the Tiger program, entering the college football transfer portal on Monday.
"My time at Auburn was good but I sat down with my family, we talked over things, and it was best to move on from Auburn and find a program that's looking for a leader," he told SI All-American. "That's what I'm looking for, a leadership opportunity, where I can lead a program to a national championship, ultimately.
"Just be that guy, where coaches and players can depend on me."
A blue-chip recruit coming out of high school in the class of 2020, Garnett picked AU over more than a dozen additional scholarship offers. Of course he committed and signed with the Gus Malzahn-led Tiger coaching staff. Auburn hired Bryan Harsin to lead the program in December.
"My first year at Auburn was good, I got to gain experience from older guys at my position, as well as from coaches," he said. "I did not take that year in the SEC for granted. I evolved in reading defenses and processing defenses...I feel like I grasped that very fast. I grew in that area a lot.
"On the field, my arm strength and footwork were key components I've improved in. Leadership, too, I kind of learned that from different coaches like Gus Malzahn, he was a great coach, teaching leadership. Bryan Harsin comes in and he pushes the same message."
Since making the move, Garnett reports considerable interest from Power 5 programs, with Malzahn's UCF staff in touch as well as Florida State and Louisville from the ACC, initially. Since, he says Texas A&M, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Indiana, Virginia Tech, Utah and others have communicated interest.
"I have had a lot of programs reach out so far," he said. "They're gonna get a leader, on and off the field, I take my academics seriously. I want to earn my degree and compete as an athlete and person. I'm a hard worker, always want to be that guy who's first on the field and last to leave. Just to bring the team together, pushing everybody at their position, having trust in the coaching staff, to be that guy to bring a winning-type culture in.
"Like I got the coach's back, they got my back and I got the team's back so they can trust me in any situation."
Garnett, who completed his lone pass attempt in the Auburn spring game last month while adding an 8-yard rush to boot, feels physically improved and mentally sharpened as he looks for his next stop.
An element of understanding the nature of college football, when it comes to staff turnover, was something he expected in picking the program in August of 2019 under Malzahn and current Florida State offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham.
"Going into college, you're told it's a business and that different transitions could happen," he said. "You have to be prepared for anything, so I was kind of prepared. New staffs come in all over the country, all you can do is keep working."
The former Tiger made that work tangible in the classroom, dual-enrolling in college before enrolling at Auburn. He is now on an accelerated track towards a business degree despite having four years of eligibility remaining on the football field.
Garnett does not have a defined timetable for a decision.
More from SI All-American