Editor’s note: As LSU prepares for what should be a promising 2016 campaign, expectations are sky-high as the team returns 18 starters and the nation’s third-ranked recruiting class.
Over the next few weeks, SEC Country will take a closer look at LSU’s 25 most important players who will determine whether this upcoming season will be a success or letdown.
No. 21: Rashard Lawrence
Rashard Lawrence has yet to play a single down for LSU, but the former 5-star defensive tackle figures to be a prominent piece of the puzzle in the team’s newly implemented 3-4 front.
At 6-foot-3 and 305 pounds, Lawrence is expected to be a instant contributor for the Tigers’ defensive line rotation. He’s a true fit on the interior part of the line, which is crucial as defensive coordinator Dave Aranda looks to pad his depth in that area.
Both Davon Godchaux and Christian LaCouture saw action at defensive tackle at times in the spring. But as one shifts to the edge at defensive end, Lawrence has a chance to solidify his role. Early playing time was the most important factor that led him to LSU over his second choice, Ohio State, and defensive line coach Ed Orgeron is likely chomping at the bit to insert the in-state talent into his front.
Lawrence was one of the state’s most dominant players while at Neville High School (Monroe, La.), helping his team win back-to-back Louisiana Class 4A state championships. As he gets accustomed to life in Baton Rouge, La., Lawrence is expecting similar results in his freshman season.
“With the guys coming back, we can do something real big,” Lawrence told SEC Country after committing. “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.”
It will be interesting to see what Aranda has in store for Lawrence, as well. He is seemingly an ideal fit as a defensive tackle, but Aranda — whom Lawrence refers to as a mad scientist — may opt to use him in more unconventional ways.
LaCouture has already indicated that Lawrence is the future face of LSU’s defensive line. He figures to be one of the team’s most important defensive pieces as it adjusts to Aranda’s new scheme.
Coming Monday: The fastest Tiger
- No. 25: Danny Etling
- No. 24: Kristian Fulton, Saivion Smith
- No. 23: Devin White
- No. 22: Tyron Johnson
Sam Spiegelman covers LSU football recruiting for SECCountry.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play in Tigers Stadium.