While players like Joe Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase tend to get all the glory, and rightfully so, one of the hardest working players on the field doesn’t always get as much praise– but Lloyd Cushenberry III is still at the "Center" of it all.
Cushenberry was only a three-star recruit out of Dutchtown High school just outside of the Tiger territory in Baton Rouge. Having little national recognition, he was the last recruit signed to the 2016 class.
But still, there was no doubt in his mind that he had the potential to be great at LSU.
“Nobody knew my name, so when I got to campus, you know all that really went out the window in my opinion, ‘cause I knew once we stepped on campus all the stars, all the opinions on social media didn’t really matter," Cushenberry said. "I knew I could get to this level one day I just had to put in the work, and wait my turn.”
Quiet, strong and focused, standing at the center of the Offensive Line, #79 Cushenberry dominates the field; Missing only eight snaps in SEC games last year and rising to be one of the best in the nation in his position.
But he doesn’t just dominate the field. He also excels in the classroom.
“Without academics I can’t play football, that’s one thing we try to tell the young guys, the freshmen that are struggling in their classes, 'ya know if you don't pass classes you can’t practice, you can’t play,” Cushenberry said.
From a young age, it was clear that Lloyd’s dedication and work ethic would drive him to success.
“I purchased him a football when he was five years old, and he carried that football everywhere, he even went to sleep with that football, and I knew that he was going to be a football player one day," Lloyd's Mom, Debbie said. "It makes me feel very blessed to know that he’s playing the game that he loves,”
Lloyd was Presented with #18 captain’s jersey this year, annually given to the player who best represents LSU Football and is the epitome of a Tiger, on and off the field.
While NCAA regulations prevent him from wearing the number on the field, Cushenberry reps the coveted 18 during practice.
The first of his position to wear it, Lloyd takes the honor seriously.
“Being rewarded #18, I knew I had to step up as a vocal leader, so all the guys knew how it worked so I felt more comfortable speaking up," Cushenberry said. "‘Cause they knew I was an accountable and I was responsible to do the things we were supposed to do on and off the field.”
Humble and grateful, Lloyd credits his success to his family. He says that throughout it all, his Mom and Sister supported him relentlessly.
“I just like to encourage people to do good things, and my brother especially because he’s such a good person and ya know he works hard at everything he does. I remember the day he got the offer for LSU, it was just amazing," said Ayanna, Lloyd's sister.
While he may have graduated following his last football season with LSU, the recognition he's receiving doesn't fall short of amazing. The LSU offensive line received the Joe Moore award for the best collegiate football offensive line unit.
But hopefully, Cushenberry's football journey won’t end in Death Valley. Lloyd dreams of taking his career to the next level. With a degree in Sports Administration, he hopes to make a positive impact on youth in sports one day.
“My ultimate dream is to play in the NFL," Cushenberry said. "After that, the NFL, I just want to be able to support my family, and impact youth in some way, whether that’s in sports or doing something that’ll benefit their future."
A leader on the field, a leader in life. Lloyd Cushenberry.