- Tom VanHaaren, ESPN Staff Writer
Coaching changes are always a part of the recruiting process, and can unfortunately throw a wrench into a prospect's process. That was the case for defensive lineman Christian Lacouture (College Station, Texas/A&M Consolidated), who had been committed to Texas A&M for quite some time.
The Aggies staff was let go, and Kevin Sumlin was brought in as the new head man. That changed things for Lacouture and his commitment.
"When I committed to Texas A&M about a year ago, I committed in January 2011, I was very solid," he said. "But with the coaching change I didn't think it was right to stay committed while I was taking visits. It would be better for me to do it this way, and get to know them and some other programs better."
Lacouture says now that he has decommitted he is starting from square one, and there are no outright leaders. Although he has already started building a relationship with Aggies defensive line coach Terry Price, he has a few other schools in mind that he'd like to see as well.
"If I had to pick I would say Texas A&M, Michigan, LSU, Missouri and Nebraska," he said. "It's very early in the process, but I'd like to make a decision by the early summer, because I want to focus on my season without any distractions."
He believes all of those schools are very well respected, and would provide him a good opportunity at the next level.
The Michigan coaches have gotten themselves in the mix for the 6-foot-5, 256-pound defensive end, and will likely get a visit from him at the spring game on April 14. Lacouture doesn't yet know much about the actual program, but does know that there is already a huge selling point for the Wolverines.
"What stands out for me, defensive wise, Coach (Brady) Hoke, (Greg) Mattison and (Jerry) Montgomery are all defensive line coaches. I want someone to develop me and teach me at the same time," he said. "They all know the defensive line, and Coach Mattison sees me as a versatile guy. They said I could play strong side defensive end, or move down if they have three linemen in."
Since he doesn't know much more about the program, Lacouture would like to sit down and discuss academics with the advisors, and would also like to sit down with the coaches and talk scheme.
He sees himself fitting best in a 4-3 scheme playing defensive end, but as Mattison told him he's a versatile player that could move around. Lacouture got a look at how he might be used when Michigan played Virginia Tech in the Allstate Sugar Bowl in January.
"I specifically watch where I'd be playing in games, and I definitely saw the Sugar Bowl. I like to see the different type of blitzes they have, and I look at the game from a defensive line standpoint," he said. "(Michigan) had their strong side defensive end moving a lot, they switch sides, and they were very athletic. That was very intriguing and exciting to see."
The visit to Ann Arbor will give him a clearer picture of what Michigan has to offer. While Michigan is the farthest school from home, distance won't play a factor in his decision.
He's looking at academics and what prospects are in the respective classes for each of his top schools. Two aspects stick out, however, in how he plans on making his decision and what he wants from a program.
"I'm looking to see what everyone has to offer now. I do look at recruiting classes, and Michigan has the biggest class of commits, which is good," he said. "There are a lot of things I look at, but the two biggest things are that I want to win a national championship, and I want to contribute to my team. Those two are the biggest."
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