MONROE, La. — On Friday morning, a million-dollar question will finally be answered …
LSU or Ohio State?
Those are the two schools the nation’s No. 5 defensive tackle, Rashard Lawrence, is deciding between.
Lawrence, a 6-foot-3, 305-pound defensive stud, has proven he’s a force to be reckoned with on the field. That’s evident by the back-to-back Louisiana Class 4A championships he helped Neville High School (Monroe, La.) collect the past two seasons.
Lawrence tasted success at the high school level, and it’s something he wants more of next year in college.
Not surprisingly, both LSU and Ohio State are among the early contenders heading into 2016.
With Leonard Fournette and a wealth of talent returning to LSU on both sides of the ball, the Tigers are set enter the season as one of the presumptive favorites for not only the SEC, but a national title.
The same goes for Ohio State, which has a familiar face at quarterback back in J.T. Barrett, not to mention the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation set to bolster an already deep roster. But there are quite a number of holes to fill first.
Early playing time is another factor, and for two of college football’s top programs for churning out NFL talent, there’s a wealth of talent returning to both teams next season, particularly along the defensive line.
In fact, LSU will return all four of its starting defensive linemen in 2016, and the recruiting class, as it’s currently constructed, features five defensive linemen, including a pair of defensive tackles.
Ohio State lost only defensive end Joey Bosa to the NFL draft, and will have to fill spots left by its top three defensive tackles from last season.
The third element is the all-important comfort level.
This is important to most high school football players trying to figure out where to spend the next three or four years of their life. Lawrence is no exception.
The defensive tackle lives just more than three hours away from LSU’s campus. The first coach that recruited him, Ed Orgeron, the Tigers’ defensive line coach. That relationship can’t be understated.
Lawrence maintains good relationships with the current LSU defensive linemen, and Orgeron will ensure he’s a part of the rotation right away.
In terms of those three factors, LSU seemingly has an edge in two departments. It will now come down to whether Lawrence will chose the chance to start as a true freshman versus the chance to contribute on one of the nation’s top defensive lines.
As of tonight, Lawrence is making his decision. In the morning, expect him to announce he’ll be an LSU Tiger.