No. 1 player in Louisiana sets timeline for decision
NEW ORLEANS — Rashard Lawrence put his recruitment on the backburner for much of 2015 to focus his full attention to helping Neville High School repeat as Louisiana Class 4A state champions.
After that finally came to fruition Saturday night in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the 5-star defensive tackle could finally open up about the next step in his football career.
Asked about his timeline for making decision, Lawrence said he might be done taking official visits despite having three left. It might boil down to in-home visits in order to commit by the end of January.
“At this point, there’s a big dead period coming up, so I’m going to wait until the dead period is over to do in-home visits,” Lawrence said. “I’m done visiting schools. I have to wait and kind of see. I probably want to do something in January. I don’t want to have to wait until Signing Day unless I have to. If I have to, I will, but I’m looking (making my decision) at some time in January.”
Of the 23 offers Lawrence holds, eight are from the SEC — Alabama, LSU, UGA, Arkansas Tennessee, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Auburn.
Since the start of his senior season, Lawrence has taken two official visits — to UCLA and to Ohio State — and unofficially visited nearby LSU.
LSU recruiting coordinator and running backs coach Frank Wilson, special teams coordinator Bradley Dale Peveto and defensive line coach Ed Orgeron made an in-home visit to Lawrence on Nov. 29.
Orgeron has made a strong impression on the 6-foot-3, 305-pounder.
“Man, it’s a good one (relationship),” Lawrence said. “He’s a great recruiter. He really is. He came to my house Day 1. I was the first person he saw and it meant a lot. I was his first in-home visit; as soon as he got the job he came. He’s a great man and true to his word.”
Lawrence indicated that coaching stability is also going to play a key factor in his decision.
One position that is definitely shored up for next year is that of Les Miles, which is a positive for Lawrence as he considers staying in Louisiana.
“It was very important,” Lawrence said. “Coach Miles is a great guy. Players love playing for him. To see him not there would be completely different for the program. I’m glad he’s staying. It helped my progress and the other kids around the nation, so I’m glad he’s staying.”
Lawrence also added that playing time as a true freshman could be a factor in his decision, and at LSU that opportunity might present itself.
The defensive tackle maintains good relationships with current LSU defensive linemen Davon Godchaux and Christian LaCouture, who believe Lawrence can make an impact as early as Day 1.
“Yeah you do (think about it), but wherever you go you have to compete,” Lawrence said. “I’ve been talking to them and they think I can come in and contribute and help them out. They have about four to five guys that are pretty good, but need to expand on their depth.”
Lawrence is rated as the No. 1 player in the state of Louisiana and the No. 5 defensive tackle in the nation.