LaCouture laying it all on the line

Christian LaCouture was the lone defensive player to enroll early this past spring. That extra semester has given him a leg up on the other freshmen linemen, and he's proving worthy of early playing time in Year 1.

Freshman DT Christian LaCouture lined up for a rep in the Big Cat drill on the first full-pads day of Fall Camp.

He dropped into his technique opposite a nearly 350-pound Fehoko Fanaika. The two came together, butting heads like a pair of rams battling for territory. LaCouture brought the big Tongan to his knees, then stumbled up to praise from his teammates.

Anthony Johnson, the leader of the DTs, patted him on the pads and told him to go see a trainer.

"Go get yourself a Band-Aid," Johnson said.

LaCouture hadn't even noticed, but he'd opened up a gash between his eyes. So while he took a couple seconds to enjoy his victory in that Big Cat rep, he had blood pouring down his nose.

"I guess one of my buckles came off, and scratched me," LaCouture said. "I didn't realize it until Freak told me I had blood running down my face. I didn't feel it at all."

Call it blind intensity or just disregard for his own well-being, but LaCouture plays with that same fire. That's part of what made him a four-star prospect coming out of high school and a jewel in LSU's 2013 class.

LaCouture was the lone defensive player to enroll early, taking part in spring practices. That's when he first made a name for himself among those that follow LSU. Working with a thin defensive line in the spring, LaCouture rose near the top of the crop.

"[The spring] really did help me out a lot," LaCouture said. "Learning the plays, speed of the game, it made me get that much better as a player. It was just a huge opportunity for me to come in and help out. I was very fortunate to do that."

LaCouture continued that success into Fall Camp, where he has become the top freshman on the depth chart. Though five-star Greg Gilmore and four-star Maquedius Bain have joined him in the reps, LaCouture has separated himself from that competition.

A big factor in his game has been his ability to add weight while maintaining quickness. LaCouture said he was "barely 270" pounds when he committed to LSU in November 2012. He'd grown to 285 pounds when he arrived in January and is now at 301 as of his most recent measurement.

"It makes everything better," LaCouture said of his size. "[Strength and conditioning] Coach [Tommy] Moffitt and his staff get you that much better on the playing field. We have the best coaching staff in the country, and they'll get you right. They'll put on the weight but also make you the quickest and strongest. We're busting our tails to reach our full potential."

With so much youth along the defensive line — LSU signed seven DLs in the 2013 class — LaCouture has found himself battling against his closest friends on the team. He rooms with Gilmore and Frank Herron — that's almost 900 pounds of man in one on-campus apartment by the way — and LaCouture said the competition actually brings them closer together.

"We're all very tight," LaCouture said. "This is the tightest I've ever been with a group of guys. I'm very excited for the future for us."

LaCouture doesn't think he has a spot in the rotation locked up either. He knows he has to continue proving himself in every practice, and if that means shedding a little blood in the process, then so be it.

"You just have to make sure you capitalize on all your opportunities," LaCouture said. "You got to make sure you know your plays, have the proper technique and are busting your butt to the ball. You just have to know what you're doing."

What are your expectations for LaCouture in 2013?


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