ORLANDO, Fla. — Austin Deculus prides himself on never going somewhere knowing a stranger.
In a matter of days, he’ll be on LSU’s campus.
His theory will be put to the test as the 4-star offensive tackle begins his preparation. To Deculus, that means starting along the Tigers offensive line in 2017.
Deculus doesn’t know whether he’ll be a tackle or a guard. He plans on carving his path to the starting lineup and doing so on the left side of the offensive line.
“I’m going to come in and work,” Deculus told SEC Country at the Under Armour All-America Game. “I can honestly say I’m going to give it 100 percent. I might not start at left tackle. It’ll depend. No one is for sure with their position yet, but he (Jeff Grimes) will put the five best offensive linemen out to start. That may mean me being at a different position, but it’s whatever I have to get playing time, TV time on the field, and I’m not worried about it.”
Deculus could be the No. 1 contender for LSU’s left tackle spot should junior K.J. Malone declare for the NFL draft. If not, left guard Matt Clapp should shift over to center in place of Ethan Pocic, creating another available position.
Either is appealing to the All-America lineman.
“If K.J. Malone stays, I might have to battle it out with him,” Deculus said. “If not, they’ll replace someone at center and go from there. Left guard, left tackle … I’d just be hesitant about the right side. The left side is much better.”
The 6-foot-6, 331-pound Texan will go from Orlando to Texas before returning to Louisiana in early January.
He’ll have five days back in Cy-Fair, Texas, to pack and prepare for early enrollment at LSU, and eventually spring practice in March. That’s when Deculus believes he’ll start to make his presence felt.
“It’s going to be so much better,” Deculus said. “Already, I’ll have the whole advantage on everyone else and the other offensive linemen coming in. I’ll already be in the loop and know most of the plays and be working out. I’m pretty excited about it.”
Earlier this month, Deculus signed his financial aid agreement, meaning there is nothing standing between him and a future in Baton Rouge.
It wasn’t always that way after Les Miles was fired, but the promotion of Ed Orgeron solidified his pledge. Even Deculus, who grew up watching Miles lead the Tigers on TV, realized that change was necessary.
“Honestly, I’m not going to say that I’m happy he left because I love Les Miles. … He offered and I grew up watching Les Miles on TV, eating blades of grass, but coach Orgeron, sometimes it’s time for a change,” Deculus said.
“Coach O brings that one team, one heartbeat thing. Watching those hype videos and being in the locker room as he gives those motivational speeches makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Some people say, ‘His accent this or his accent that,’ but I saw the shirt that says, ‘Our head coach finally doesn’t have an accent,’ and I love it. My grandpa and all my uncles have it.”
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