Senior defensive lineman Christian LaCouture will wear the prized No. 18 jersey for LSU in 2017, Tigers coach Ed Orgeron announced at a luncheon in Baton Rouge on Monday.
“The No. 18 means a lot to me,” LaCouture said in a statement. “When I found out I was getting it, I was really excited. I have been just trying to be a senior leader like the previous 18s. To be in a category with people like the previous 18s – Tre’Davious White, Bennie Logan, Brandon Taylor and all of the others is very humbling. The No. 18 signifies being a leader on and off of the field. I am really excited and can’t wait to be a leader on and off of the field next year.”
White, a cornerback who is expected to go early in the 2017 NFL Draft, perhaps even in the first round, wore No. 18 in both the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
The tradition goes back to 2003 national title-winning quarterback Matt Mauck. The No. 18 goes to a player who exemplifies success, selflessness and strong leadership qualities.
The number also has been worn by, among others, running back Jacob Hester, linebacker Lamin Barrow and defensive tackle Bennie Logan.
LaCouture, a fifth-year senior from Lincoln, Nebraska missed the 2016 season with a severe knee injury suffered in preseason camp. He was a defensive tackle in LSU’s old 4-3 scheme, but will play more end than tackle in the Tigers’ 3-4 set.
LaCouture announced in mid-December that he would return to LSU for a fifth season after thinking about entering the NFL draft for a second straight year.
Some LSU players started a Twitter campaign earlier this offseason for fullback J.D. Moore to wear No. 18 this season.
(You can follow Dan Mathews on Twitter @DanMathewsATL)
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