• John Macon Gillespie

Rule Number One: Lake Cormorant LB Wants To Be The Best

With the way offense has evolved, even down to the high school level, in football, it only makes sense that the defenses have been forced to do the same. In particular, linebackers shoulder a much larger load of responsibility than in the past. A linebacker must be a physical presence in the run game, but also light on their feet in coverage.

You would be hard pressed to find a linebacker in North Mississippi that is more well-rounded than Lake Cormorant’s Ladarrius Rule. He finished last season with 149 tackles, his second consecutive season with 126 or more. In addition to racking up 11.5 tackles per game, he also tallied seven and a half sacks, four fumble recoveries, three pass deflections and a pair of forced fumbles.

“Last season I started off a little slow, but I picked it up and finished tops in tackles for the third year in a row,” Rule told SES Mississippi. “I’m a very aggressive sideline-to-sideline player. I try to make every play and my motor is always running 110 percent.”

The three-year starter at linebacker helped his team to a 7-6 record and a playoff appearance last season. With his senior season approaching and returning starters coming back on both sides of the ball, next season will certainly be a big deal for Rule and his teammates. He expects a lot, not only from himself, but also for his team.

For his team, there are expectations to take it a step further. However, for himself, he is just looking to be on top. With plenty of accolades already in his pocket, there’s just winning left to do.

“Last year was one of our school’s best seasons. We could have won a few more games, but we were kind of young on offense,” Rule said.

“Next season I expect we should finish at the top of our league, with another playoff appearance. With all the starters returning on defense, we should have one of the top defenses in the league. I expect us to win a lot of games. Expectations for myself are to land a big scholarship and finish as the top linebacker in the state.”

Even with 323 total tackles and an 11.1 tackles per game mark in his 29 career games played, Rule is looking to get better. In fact, he is working hard to ensure that he does. The same qualities that help him provide leadership for his teammates, on and off the field, are also what pushes him in his pursuit to get better.

“I’ve been working extremely hard with my coaches at school and with my personal trainer in the evenings,” He explained. “Stuff like using proper technique and getting stronger, especially my core strength.”

“I hold my self accountable first and foremost. I make sure that I’m getting extra work in to lead by example. I respect my coaches, teachers and teammates.”

His will to get better is fueled by a few things. Specifically because he loves the game. He loves to hit, he loves to win and he loves his teammates. His deepest desire, though, resides in his home.

“I love the competitiveness of football, I like to win,” He said. “I love my teammates and basically, I love to hit.”

“What drives me is my mother. I just want to make her happy, get my education first and see where the game of football takes me. Hopefully it gives me the opportunity to take care of my family.”

On April 30th Rule, who compares his game to Ray Lewis and his style of play to Clay Matthews, will make the trek to ICC to compete in the Fortius Project. Competing side-by-side with some of his most talented peers is an opportunity that excites him.

“I’m looking to put on a show,” Rule exclaimed. “Like I said, I’m very competitive. I most look forward to showing my skills and the competitive atmosphere.”

Though, he is looking to drop some weight and add back muscle to his frame by the end of the summer, his size is something he feels will pop off the page when he arrives at Fortius. Although, he expects his agility, strength, technique and skill set to impress, as well.

**Photo by Craig Smacks Harris.

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