Lawrence has offers from just about every major program in the country. He’ll have his pick of national title contenders once he’s eventually ready to make a decision, which likely won’t come any time soon. First, he has to get out and visit some of those suitors.
“I want to see what the coaching staff has in plan for me if I was to choose their school,” Lawrence said. “It’ll be crucial. I’ll probably have a Top 10 soon. Some of these schools will have to drop, because I’ll have to start leaning toward schools I want to go to and hopefully make a decision.”
He said that decision probably won’t come until after his senior season, though it could come earlier if he’s 100 percent ready. He added that LSU, Alabama, Ole Miss and UCLA are the four schools coming after him hardest right now.
He visited LSU last weekend for the Tigers’ first practice of the spring. That was his first trip down to Baton Rouge since the fall, and afforded him an opportunity to meet with the new defensive coaches.
The visit blew him away.
“If I had to rate it 1-10, it would probably be an 11,” Lawrence said. “I spent the whole weekend with the defensive coaching staff. I ate dinner with Coach Miles and woke up Sunday morning and ate breakfast with him at the hotel. So overall, it was a pretty good visit.”
Ed Orgeron made Lawrence one of the first 2016 recruits he contacted after accepting the LSU job. He hosted him last weekend, and those two are building a strong bond.
Orgeron considers Lawrence a must-get recruit in 2016, and he made that clear during the visit.
“We spent a lot of time together,” Lawrence said. “I definitely like what he’s doing with the players…and with the program, moving more to a pass-rush scheme than a run-stopping scheme like Coach Haley. I really like that.”
He said that LSU really likes him as a three-technique defensive tackle. They want to get him one-on-one against blockers, avoiding the double teams and allowing his elite talent to take over.
The other highlight of the weekend was spending time around current LSU players like Christian Lacouture and Greg Gilmore.
“I bonded really well with the players,” Lawrence said. “I spent all weekend with them too…It’s good to be around them to feel what they had to say about Coach Orgeron. They had all good things to say about him.”
Lawrence definitely has a big LSU supporter in his corner. His uncler, Oliver Lawrence, is still the single-season record holder for sacks (12 in 1989), but the younger Lawrence said his uncle won’t push him to follow in purple and gold.
“He was just here a couple weeks ago, and he was just telling me LSU’s a good school, but at the same time he’s not going to pressure me into going there,” Lawrence said. “It’s definitely a school he’d like me to go to, but we haven’t talked one-on-one about going there. He just tells me I can’t go wrong choosing a school, just to go where I feel comfortable and can prepare me to go to the NFL.”
Lawrence hopes to get to Ole Miss and Alabama this spring and to UCLA by the summer.
He checked out Tuscaloosa for a game last fall, but he’d like to see the campus on a normal day to really see how things operate.
“When I went there, I got there 30-45 minutes before the game, so I couldn’t really visit it,” he said. “But from what I saw, I like that it’s a football town. I want to get there and see more of what Tuscaloosa has to offer.”
He’s talking regularly with Billy Napier, Bo Davis and Nick Saban. They too have made him a top priority in this class and would love to add another talented player from Neville.
They can see Lawrence fitting in almost anywhere along the defensive line.
“Anywhere from a five-tech in,” he said. “I can play from a nose to a five, if I was to really develop my footwork. I’d probably have to lose a couple pounds and get to about 290. But they see me not getting stuck in the middle or getting double-teamed. Being able to go outside a little bit and get single blocks.”
As for Ole Miss and UCLA…
“[Ole Miss has] made me a top priority,” Lawrence said. “They’re about to lose a lot of defensive tackles. Me and Coach Kiffin have a good relationship. I’ve been talking to him ever since they offered me back in my sophomore year.”
“[UCLA], I want to go out there this summer, and I’ll probably set something up pretty soon,” he said. “It’s a school that’s been recruiting me hard since they offered me.”