Sci Martin flashed an “L” with his right hand as he posed for pictures with coaches, friends and family members Monday.
The “L” stood for LSU.
It could have just as easily stood for “long time coming.”
The McDonogh 35 senior defensive end signed with LSU on Monday, almost six weeks after national signing day.
The 6-foot-4, 240-pound three-star recruit didn’t sign on signing day because his mother, Sandra Johnson, became ill.
“After that, I decided I may as well take my time instead of rushing it,” Martin said.
He said he finally decided last week. He was planning to announce last Friday, but school was closed because of expected bad weather, postponing his signing three more days.
Martin’s final three choices were LSU, TCU and Alabama, with Alabama finishing second.
But in the end, he credits his relationship with the LSU coaching staff for helping him choose the Tigers.
“I have a good relationship with coach (Jabbar) Juluke and coach (Ed) Orgeron and coach Dave (Aranda). I have a huge bond with coach Juluke. I believe we are going to win a championship in the future. The (No. 3) recruiting class also helped me want to be part of this team.”
Martin got his first offer from Tulane and committed to the Green Wave in June. He de-committed from Tulane and later committed to TCU. The offers continued to pour in during a stellar senior season in which he recorded 61 tackles, 33.5 sacks, to go with five forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. He was a first-team selection to The New Orleans Advocate All-Metro team for large schools. He was also a member of The Advocate’s Super Dozen, a list of the state’s top 12 recruits.
Not bad for a guy who was a tall, 160-pounder entering his freshman season at McDonogh 35.
“I was just a skinny guy rushing off the edge,” Martin said. “The season ended, and I would take a week off and get back to it. I had a whole lot of protein and just dedicated my life to this game to get better.”
It didn’t take long for Martin to start making an impact for the Roneagles.
“He started as a sophomore and you could see he was good,” McDonogh 35 assistant coach Frank Daggs said. “He got better his junior year, and then the senior year was just ridiculous. He’s a good teammate and always encouraging them and always working hard. He’ll probably take off that LSU jacket he has on as soon as we leave here and want to go work out.”
Daggs, who has spent over a decade at McDonogh 35, ranks Martin in his top three defensive players to play with the Roneagles since he’s been there.
“He is going to be special,” Daggs said. “The sky’s the limit for him. He can play on Sundays.”
LSU had plenty of room for more signees in its 2016 class.
Les Miles signed 23 prospects, including five mid-year enrollees, in the 2016 class. Two of those five mid-year enrollees are expected to count back to the 2015 class, leaving the Tigers with as many as four open spots in this year’s group. Teams are allowed to sign a maximum of 25 new scholarship players each year.
Martin said he expects to play both defensive end and outside linebacker in defensive coordinator Aranda’s scheme.
“(Aranda’s hiring) was big,” Martin said. “It helps showcase my skill with the 3-4 defense they are installing there. It will help me become an even better rusher.”
Martin relishes the chance to play close to home for the Tigers. It helps that the school is just an hour away home from his family. His father, Sci Martin Sr., is a big LSU fan.
It also helps that the Tigers play in the Southeastern Conference.
“I wanted to better myself and be part of an SEC program and dominate with other great players and try to push myself to the limit,” Martin said.
He’ll get to play two of his McDonogh 35 teammates in future years. Stephon Taylor signed with South Carolina and Clifford Chattman signed with Texas A&M.
“I’m looking forward to going up against Clifford and Stephon,” Martin said. “Hopefully we are going to beat those guys.”