When Tevin Lawson started his junior season at Denham Springs (La.) High last fall, he was a full-time left tackle who had never played much on defense at all.
A few months later, he's committed to play for LSU and as a defensive tackle. He's LSU's seventh commitment. An eighth is expected Saturday, at the LSU Spring Game, from Winnfield (La.) defensive end Michael Patterson.
A mid-season decision by Lawson's high school coach, Dru Nettles, led to a meteoric rise that had him entertaining offers from Ole Miss, Auburn as well as the local Tigers. He thought about entertaining all three SEC rivals, but as LSU's Saturday spring game approached, he knew where his heart was.
"I knew I was going to LSU," said Lawson, whose high school is in the Baton Rouge suburbs. The team wears the locally common, LSU-inspired, purple and gold. "I want to represent the state of Louisiana."
To get the chance to wear purple and gold in college, he had to move to move from offense. At 6-foot-4, 270 pounds "with the frame to add on a lot more weight," according to Nettles, he was a good prospect as an offensive lineman, "but most SEC offensive linemen are 6-6 these days," Nettles said.
But Lawson's college future was not what precipitated the move. While the Yellow Jackets offense was prolific, the defense needed help.
"He was playing defense in situations, but weeded to shore the defense up," Nettles said. "So we made the total commitment to play Tevin on defense."
"I played it and I loved it," said Lawson, who continued to play offense in certain situations.
On defense, he isn't as penalized in the recruiting world for not being taller. Instead, his tremendously quick feet are even more of an asset.
"He's so talented, he played defense well without having the fundamental work down," Nettles said.
Lawson said it's time to learn the ins and outs of the position.
"It's not pressure, but it's just what I have to do," he said. "The biggest adjustment was learning the plays, learning the rhythm of playing defense."
The life-long offensive player learned it well enough to have an offer he couldn't refuse from the local school.