If nothing else, Acadiana High junior cornerback Laterrance Welch has learned and displayed patience over the past year.
Still flying high from a state championship and the recruiting offers really heating up, the 6-1, 180-pound Welch suffered a torn meniscus in May and underwent surgery in early June.
But Welch never flinched.
He never doubted the injury would hurt his worth on the recruiting trail, and he never worried about missing the entire Wreckin’ Rams run at a second consecutive state title.
“No sir, I was never worried,” said Welch, who commited to LSU on Sunday.
After all, he ended up with 29 offers, including ones from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Arkansas and Florida State.
All Welch needed, though, was one. So when LSU came calling about two weeks ago, there wasn’t much of a decision to make.
“I decided as soon as I got the offer,” Welch said. “It’s my dream school.
“It’s so close to my home. It’s only about 35 minutes away. My family and friends can come watch all of my games.”
Because of the injury, Welch didn’t play until the final two games of the season.
“I was humble about everything,” Welch said. “I just took my time with my recovery. I didn’t stress about it at all. I knew I was going to be able to play in some games.”
Welch credited the coaching staff with being patient with him as well. And as soon as he got the go-ahead from the doctor, “I was at practice that evening.”
Despite missing almost the entire season, Welch said the transition back to the field was as smooth as he expected.
“It was like riding a bike,” Welch said. “I’m an athlete. I wasn’t worried about anything. I wasn’t worried about my knee. I just wanted to play football.
“And I played great.”
Welch was right in the thick of things in the final two drives of Acadiana’s 35-34 state championship game win over Alexandria.
Welch delivered the game-clinching play with an interception on a potential game-winning, two-point conversion pass in the final minute of regulation.
Even in June, Welch said he wasn’t worried about his absence, trusting his teammates to keep the Rams’ momentum rolling.
“In my mind, I was just thinking about what it took to win the game,” Welch said. “If it came to my side, I was going to do what it took to win the game and if it went to the other side, I trusted my guys to do what they had to do to win the game.”
Welch nearly had an interception to ice the win on the previous possession, but a collision with a teammate resulted in a completed Hail Mary touchdown pass for the Trojans to stay alive.
“It was frustrating, because it let them back in the game,” Welch said. “All we really needed to do is knock it down. I felt the ball coming right to me, but as soon as I had it in my hands, my teammate hit me in my stomach and cut my wind.”
But just like Welch always believed, it worked out fine. Acadiana was crowned Class 5A state champions for the second straight season.
“It was a blessing,” he said. “Now I’m trying to get three.”
And now he’s headed to LSU.
“It’s a blessing to get coached by the best,” he said.