Lloyd Cushenberry had made a decision: the Dutchtown offensive lineman would sign with Mississippi State on Wednesday.
Things changed on Sunday.
That’s when LSU offered Cushenberry a scholarship.
“When they offered me I was leaning to State. I was going to sign with them,” he said Wednesday. “Once they came with the offer, it made me think more about all of my options and staying close to home. I think it’s a good opportunity.”
Cushenberry, a three-star offensive guard originally committed to South Carolina, signed with the Tigers on Wednesday – a surprising pickup after a late offer. Cushenberry committed to LSU on Tuesday night, he said, after speaking with coach Les Miles, offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and incoming signee Lindsey Scott, the Zachary quarterback.
Scott also received a late LSU offer, committing to the Tigers on Sunday and signing with them on Wednesday.
“He went through the same situation,” Cushenberry said. “He had to sit down with his family and talk about life after football.”
The 6-4, 310-pound Cushenberry did the same, hashing it out with family members before deciding late Tuesday. The hard part: calling Mississippi State coaches with the news.
“That was a tough decision,” said Cushenberry, ranked the 103rd guard in the 2016 class. “It took a lot to make that call. It was tough. Real tough. It’s part of becoming a man.”
Cushenberry took an official visit to Mississippi State two weeks ago and visited South Carolina last weekend. Those were his two finalists – until Sunday’s LSU offer came.
The Tigers had room in this 2016 class to sign as many as 27 or 28 players, but they lost on a host of signing day targets, clearing even more room.
“It was a matter of scholarships and other guys they offered,” he said. “It wasn’t a matter of I don’t know if he can play. It was just, are they going to have room?”
Cushenberry has attended one LSU football game – the Tigers’ win over Auburn last season – and he did not take an official visit to LSU during this recruiting year.
Still, he grew up watching “guys like Glenn Dorsey,” he said. “That’s always been a goal for us.”
At a position of need, LSU lost out Wednesday.
Four star defensive end/linebacker Erick Fowler, a Tigers commitment entering signing day, flipped to Texas in a signing ceremony at his high school Wednesday.
Fowler, a Manor, Texas native, is a significant loss for a team with defensive depth problems at defensive line and linebacker. The Tigers have just one other linebacker in the 2016 class – John Ehret’s Michael Divinity, a mid-year enrollee. Texas’ Rahssan Thornton is listed as a hybrid linebacker/defensive end. Devin White, an mid-year enrollee, says he’ll begin his career at running back, but he can also play linebacker.
LSU did not sign a linebacker in last year’s class and just one of two linebacker signees from the 2014 class remain on the team, Donnie Alexander.
Fowler, the seventh-best outside linebacker in the nation, committed to LSU in June and took an official visit last weekend. He visited Texas the weekend of Jan. 15 before flipping to the Longhorns.