LSU may return all four starters along its defensive line from last season, but one major reinforcement is on the way.
Five-star defensive tackle Rashard Lawrence inked his letter of intent on Wednesday, cementing his status as an LSU signee.
Lawrence, a 6-foot-3, 305-pound prospect out of Neville High School (Monroe, La.), chose LSU over Ohio State on Jan. 22.
A two-time state champion, Lawrence wanted to play for a national title contender at the next level. Down to LSU and Ohio State, he believed he could be one of the final pieces to the puzzle and help his hometown team reach college football royalty in 2016 and beyond.
“With the guys coming back, we can do something real big,” Lawrence told SEC Country. “Winning a national championship is pretty good, but to do it in front of your home that — that’s pretty special. … Next year and for a few years coming up, we have a chance to be special.”
Lawrence decided on LSU after receiving phone calls from two of his future teammates.
Defensive tackle Christian LaCouture and linebacker Kendell Beckwith, both of whom decided to return for their senior seasons, recruited Lawrence to LSU, explaining that the Tigers were heading toward something special in 2016.
Equally as important, the two LSU defenders pinpointed Lawrence as a future leader for the Tigers.
“It means a lot,” Lawrence told SEC Country. “You know, sometimes players have some selfishness, but I got never got it from them. They told me they needed me and they wanted me, and I’m looking forward to working with all of them.”
Lawrence has maintained a strong relationship with LSU defensive line guru Ed Orgeron, who was the first coach to recruit the five-star tackle.
However, Lawrence told SEC Country that it was first-year Tigers defensive coordinator Dave Aranda that ultimately led to him choosing LSU over Ohio State.
“He’s like a mad scientist,” Lawrence said of Aranda, “in a good way. He’s a great coach. A lot of people said negative things about the 3-4, but I watched the film and he didn’t have many dominant defensive linemen. He showed me what he’s doing at LSU, and it’s going to be pretty special.”
Lawrence is rated as Louisiana’s No. 2 prospect and the nation’s No. 5 defensive tackle.
All rankings are from the 247sports composite unless otherwise noted.