National Signing Day is a blip in the rearview mirror, but somehow, some way, LSU still pulled off a major victory with its 2016 signing class.
Elite New Orleans pass-rusher Sci Martin signed his letter of intent with LSU on Monday as a late addition to the Tigers’ recruiting class.
Martin chose LSU over SEC West rival Alabama and TCU, to which he was committed when signing day came and went last month.
The three-star sack artist held off on signing his letter of intent in February for multiple reasons, none bigger than the fact that his mother was dealing with an illness. Besides that, he had already begun to question his previous pledge to the Horned Frogs.
That unique blend of factors favored the in-state Tigers, who, thanks to some increased attention from defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, defensive line coach Ed Orgeron and running backs coach and area recruiter Jabbar Juluke, lured Martin to LSU.
“My mother was a big influence,” Martin told SEC Country. “She’s part of the reason I delayed it from the beginning. My dad is a huge fan of LSU, so it’s great to be a part of (it).”
“I looked at it as a business decision,” he added. “It was stressful, but I think my mom and my parents helped make things a little bit easier. When my mom was sick, it helped me through the process because she encouraged me to keep going. Basically, I saw my mom was sick and I had the opportunity to go back and forth, and it really hit me to go to LSU.”
While Martin’s mother’s illness may have forced the 6-foot-4, 230-pound prospect not to sign his letter of intent with TCU, the doubt crept in way before.
Martin told SEC Country that he started to waver on his commitment in the weeks leading up to signing day, but it wasn’t until last week that he began to settle on LSU.
“I wanted to better myself and be a part of an SEC program with that tradition,” he said. “Basically, last week LSU (emerged). Coach Juluke, Coach Orgeron, Coach Dave (Aranda), it was great to see those guys. I have a good bond with Coach Juluke, and I believe we can win a championship in our future.”
As much as Martin said he wanted to play for Aranda, LSU’s first-year defensive coordinator may need Martin even more.
Martin is expected to transition to outside linebacker and return to a traditional 4-3 defensive end role when the team plays in nickel packages.
That’s the versatility that LSU’s 2016 signing class lacked at linebacker, and what Martin now brings to the purple and gold provides the team with needed depth.
“Coach O believes I’m a great pass-rusher that can help this team out,” Martin said. “Coach Aranda was big. He helped me (bring out) my pass-rushing skills. Knowing guys like (LSU signees Andre Anthony and Caleb Roddy) are good because they can help me rush and get my numbers, and that will be a bonus.”
Martin named Alabama as his second choice, as his mother was a huge fan of the Crimson Tide’s running backs coach Burton Burns.
Along with LSU, Alabama made a strong push in the weeks leading up to National Signing Day. Martin took official visits to both SEC West schools before both Nick Saban and Les Miles made in-home visits with the pass-rusher.
Martin credits LSU’s late decision to hire Juluke as running backs coach as one of the catalysts, though, as that longstanding relationship struck a chord with him — about family.
“Coach Juluke is like family,” he said. “He’s been part of my life since my freshman year of high school, and it’s great to see him be a part of my team.”