Monroe (La.) Neville 2016 Rivals100 defensive tackle Rashard Lawrence picked up an Alabama towards the end of July, and in early August he welcomed another big offer when the USC Trojans let him know they too were placing a scholarship on the table.
"I really didn't expect it you know," Lawrence said. "They've been trying to get me to go to camp up there but I didn't get a chance to get up there though. It really came out of nowhere though. I've never been to California, but I've heard it's real beautiful out there and there's a lot of people they put in the league. So it's an offer to really think about."
Defensive line coach Chris Wilson delivered the news to Lawrence, and he left a strong first impression on the 6-foot-2, 307-pound defender.
"He's real humble. I can see that. He knows what he's doing" Lawrence said. "It wasn't just about football. Some coaches all they want to talk about is what you can do for the team, and he wanted to know about my family. That really impressed me. You have some coaches who want to talk about what you can do for the team, but he really impressed me when I talked to him."
In addition to receiving offers, Lawrence has also taken a few unofficial visits. In late July he made his way to LSU to check out the Tigers camp.
"It was pretty good. It's right down the road so it's not hard getting down there anytime really," Lawrence said. "Just to sit down and talk to coach Miles again. I didn't do anything at the camp because I'm battling a little bit of a sore foot. It was good though to sit down and talk to coach Wilson and coach Miles and be recruited by coach Peveto."
His most recent trip was to Norman, Okla., to checkout the Oklahoma Sooner program. Lawrence made sure to take in as much as he could, and he left feeling good about his trip.
"Well, I know one thing Oklahoma, if they keep recruiting me, they'll be one of those schools I'm going to really consider," Lawrence said. "Coach Montgomery and I already have a great relationship. We talk every other week or two, but I think on September 1 he can start talking to me over social media.
"Up there in Norman it was a great visit from the facilities to the dorms to the academics. It was a great visit. And to sit down and talk to coach Stoops, I sat down and talked with him for about an hour. He really impressed me.
"I can get back down there for a game. I'm thinking I'll be going to the Oklahoma/Texas game in Dallas. That will be a very convenient game since Oklahoma is the home team this year, so that will be a game I'll probably be attending."
The Oklahoma/Texas game is not the only game he has on his mind for unofficial visits.
"Probably the LSU/Bama game for sure, but at this point it's pretty open," Lawrence said. "Probably an Alabama game, but I haven't really looked at the schedule yet. I'm just real busy ripping and running with school and everything."
When it comes to preparing for his junior season, Lawrence has been working to fine tune a couple of aspects of his game, but there were a few thing in particular he really wanted to refine as the 2014 season approaches.
"First off I felt like I really slacked last year on my pass rushing," Lawrence said. "You look at my highlight tape and I didn't have that many sacks and that's something I've been working my butt off on for the last few months with pass rushing getting a good rip and a good countermove and working at the Rivals Camps and other camps across the nation. So to work on my pass rushing. To get a lot of sacks. I'm already pretty good when it comes to run stopping.
"So me and Courtney (Wallace), we're supposed to be one of the best defensive lines in the state, but we're not going to let that get to us. We're going to have to keep working because once you get recognition everybody is going to be gunning for you. We have a full defensive line with Division I scholarships so it's going to be fun getting after it."
Lawrence already holds offers from Alabama, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas Tech and USC, and he is keeping an open mind at this point. He does not claim any favorites, and he is not in a hurry to make a decision.
"My plan is to do it at the Under Armour All-American game, but if I know earlier I definitely will commit," Lawrence said. "But I don't think it's going to be any time soon. I have gotten close with schools but I don't have a favorite yet. Definitely the All-American game, but if I have a commitment I'll definitely do it. But it will probably be later after my senior season."
The standout defender is looking at the possibility of graduating in December of 2015. He is currently ranked No. 96 in the 2016 Rivals100, No. 13 among the nation's 2016 defensive tackles, and No. 7 in the Rivals.com Louisiana Initial Top 30 for 2016.