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University High quarterback John Gordon McKernan runs from Southern lab defender Damone Clark on a keeper around the end on Sept. 8 at U-High.

Advocate staff photo by JOHN OUBRE

The timing felt right for Damone Clark.

After all, the Southern Lab linebacker was at midfield of Tiger Stadium with LSU coach Ed Orgeron and a new scholarship offer from the program.

"Why not commit?" he thought.

“I want to be a Tiger,” Clark said he told Orgeron, a five-word verbal pledge.

How did Orgeron react?

“He picked me up off my feet,” Clark said.

Clark, a junior, became the Tigers’ fourth commitment of the 2018 signing class Sunday during a visit with his parents to campus. The 6-foot-3, 208-pounder plays a position of need for the Tigers: inside linebacker.

Clark is the seventh-best inside linebacker in next year’s class, according to 247Sports.com’s composite rankings. He played safety and linebacker as a junior this past season for Southern Lab coach Marcus Randall, the former LSU quarterback. He’s slated to have a similar role as a senior and will play inside and outside linebacker at LSU, he said defensive coordinator Dave Aranda told him.

Aranda, his primary recruiter, explained to Clark how Kendell Beckwith and Duke Riley, LSU’s departing starting linebackers, developed as students of the game since Aranda’s arrival last January. He hopes Clark will do the same.

Clark has a 4.2 GPA, he said, and he plans to enroll at LSU early next January. He’s hoping to play at LSU at 220 to 225 pounds, a similar build to guys like Riley and current Atlanta Falcons starter Deion Jones.

“I felt like it was the right time for me to commit,” Clark said. “LSU is right in my backyard. They welcomed me with open arms. Me going into the LSU (defensive) system, it will work out.”

Clark is a transplant from New Orleans whose family moved to Baton Rouge after Hurricane Katrina. He began following LSU football closely after running back and friend Derrius Guice enrolled a couple of years ago.

Clark played youth football with Guice, both members of the South Baton Rouge Jaguars.

“I always dreamed of being an LSU Tiger,” he said.

The Tigers offered Clark a scholarship just a few days ago. LSU has signed just three inside linebackers in the previous three signing classes. It’s a position of need, Orgeron has said.

Clark joins a 2018 commitment class that includes three other players, all of them defensive backs: Scotlandville cornerback Kelvin Joseph; safety Caden Sterns of Cibolo, Texas; and Miami native Nadab Joseph, also a safety.

Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter, @RossDellenger.