NEVILLE, La. — It wasn’t until 5:30 p.m. before Rashard Lawrence finally made up his mind.
That was when the nation’s No. 5 defensive tackle put down his phone after having a conversation with two of his future teammates.
LSU defensive tackle Christian LaCouture and linebacker Kendell Beckwith conveyed the importance of Lawrence joining the Tigers’ defensive line next season, and that was the difference when the five-star defensive tackle chose to put on an LSU hat — and not an Ohio State hat — Friday morning.
“I talked with Christian and with Kendell, and that helped me a lot,” Lawrence told SEC Country. “They told me next year, it’s you. Most of the guys are leaving. Christian will be a senior, and (Davon) Godchaux will probably leave. Next year, I’ll probably be hosting someone, trying to get someone to come. It’s going to be fun.
“It means a lot. 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.”
The 6-foot-3, 305-pound prospect will surely work his way toward joining LSU’s defensive line, which returns all four of its starters from last season.
But Lawrence doesn’t view those players as his competition, just teammates and, more importantly, as friends.
“He has good relationships with the players there,” Lawrence’s mother, Agnes, said. “Rashard is a kind-hearted person and he likes having those guys around him. The players called him and said ‘We really need you.’ When a player calls you and says they really need you, that’s a blessing.”
Lawrence put a lot into his relationship with Beckwith, a fellow player from northern Louisiana, as well as LaCouture, who has been close with him since Lawrence’s first trip to LSU’s campus.
Throughout the recruiting process, LaCouture never pulled Lawrence toward LSU, only offered advice when it was needed.
“Me and him are real close,” Lawrence said. “I met him the first time I took a visit to LSU and we’ve been close ever since. We’ve been talking, not even from a recruiting standpoint, but just to help me with the process. He never told me I had to come to LSU, just helped me a lot.”