When it comes to recruiting, late is often better than never.
That will be the case with Sci Martin, a three-star pass-rusher out of McDonogh 35 Senior High School (New Orleans), who opted not to sign his letter of intent last month on National Signing Day.
The 6-foot-4, 230-pound weakside defensive end committed to TCU in December, but received heightened attention from SEC West powers LSU and Alabama down the stretch run of the recruiting season.
Louisiana’s No. 26 prospect took official visits to Alabama and LSU, then received in-home visits from Tide coach Nick Saban and Tigers coach Les Miles in the week leading up to signing day.
The increased pressure led Martin not to ink his letter of intent with the Horned Frogs on Feb. 3, and instead led him to reopen his recruitment, re-evaluate his options and come forward with a definitive answer a little more than a month later.
So, it is LSU, TCU or ‘Bama?
Signs point to the Tigers and Horned Frogs as the leading schools to nab the sack artist.
While Alabama certainly caught Martin’s attention in a big way, it is clear that the hometown team made the strongest push to keep the defensive end in-state. LSU’s legitimate competition came from TCU, which has been out in front of Martin’s recruitment for much of the way.
However, LSU’s recruiting ace Ed Orgeron has spearheaded Martin’s recruitment, and the defensive line guru has opened the New Orleans native’s eyes to a potential role with the Tigers.
“They need me there. (Coach Orgeron) was explaining why they need me,” Martin told SEC Country in January. “They see me rushing off the edge, and (I would fit in) pretty well.”
The question is whether Martin is completely sold on LSU.
On Friday at 11:30 a.m. CT, Martin’s recruitment will come to a head, and you can expect the elite pass-rusher to announce he’s staying home and joining LSU as a late addition to its class of 2016.
While Martin may be joining the class late, he will certainly be a welcomed addition.
The pass-rusher re-wrote the McDonogh 35 record books his senior season, notching 33.5 sacks, shattering the competition as he set a new single-season mark at the legendary high school.
Lawrence Cayou had 19 sacks in 2009-10 and Derek Dean had 18 in 2007-2008. Martin nearly doubled the production of his predecessors and showing off his potential in the process.
Keep in mind that two-time Super Bowl champion and former Nebraska linebacker Neil Smith came through McDonogh 35. As did a host of other talented players that have gone onto to successful college and professional careers.
Martin may be a late component to the class, but he’ll be a welcomed piece for first-year LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda.
Martin brings explosiveness off the edge as both a traditional defensive end and as a stand-up backer. That’s the type of versatility Aranda covets — and desperately seeks — as he prepares for his first season in Baton Rouge, La.
And should Martin in fact pledge to LSU on Friday, the Tigers will be adding another huge in-state talent to their already-acclaimed signing class.