It took a little convincing but Dare Rosenthal eventually saw what coach Ed Orgeron and the LSU staff were preaching. Rosenthal came to LSU as a 6-foot-7, 320-pound defensive tackle recruit in 2018 hoping to be the successor to the likes of Rashard Lawrence and Breiden Fehoko.
After much back and forth, Rosenthal agreed to give the offensive line a shot and the move has been extremely beneficial to all parties involved. Appearing in five games including three starts as a redshirt freshman at left tackle in 2019, Rosenthal flashed immense potential as a future full time starter for the purple and gold.
"Dare has made tremendous strides, he wanted to play defense first so it took a little while to move him over to offense," Orgeron said Tuesday.
The opportunity for Rosenthal to start came early in the season last year when starting left tackle Saahdiq Charles was serving most of his six-game suspension against non-conference opponents. Rosenthal picked up starts in eventual wins over Northwestern State, Utah State and Mississippi State. In the three games Rosenthal started, the Tigers outscored their opponents 143-33.
But it wasn't until LSU started preparing for its semi final bowl game against Oklahoma that Orgeron started noticing some considerable development in Rosenthal's game.
"Dare made his biggest improvement when we were practicing for the bowl games last year, especially when we were going to the semi final in Atlanta. I really thought he showed out in the practices, that's where the young kids get more practice," Orgeron said.
Since his breakout performances during those bowl practices, the questions that have come up with Rosenthal have had nothing to do with his obvious talent. It's had to do with how he carries himself off the field.
Back in March, Orgeron announced that Rosenthal would be leaving the team for "personal reasons" and that he'd be back with the program in the summer.
Upon the team's return to the practice facility on June 8, Orgeron has mentioned multiple times about how great Rosenthal has been with the team not only on the field but off it as well. He's taken a leadership role with the team that Orgeron hopes will carry over into the 2020 season.
“I think Dare's going to be an excellent left tackle,” Orgeron said at the time. “He's going to play in the NFL. But he's not going to be with us this spring.”
With an inexperienced unit all around it's important that Rosenthal be that vocal leader for the group. LSU will be relying on Rosenthal, Ed Ingram, Liam Shanahan, Chasen Hines and Austin Deculus almost exclusively with not a whole ton of depth behind the starting unit.
Shanahan said in interviews last week how impressed he's been with not only Rosenthal but Hines as well.
"Dare's really kind of a freak athletically and I think I'm really excited to see him play on Saturdays. He's got a great work ethic and really impressive to watch so far," Shanahan said. "Same goes with Chasen, I think we have a lot of talent in the offensive line room. What we've been doing is really trying to get in a rhythm and groove together."
Any issues Rosenthal had in the past seem to be behind him as he sets his focus to establishing himself as one of the SEC's elite tackles. Orgeron believes that he has the potential to one day be an NFL caliber player and it's up to Rosenthal to prove him right.
"He's become a leader, he's behaving himself, he's gotten in no trouble and he's done a tremendous job for us," Orgeron said. "Obviously he's still got a ways to go but I think Dare's gonna have a chance to be an NFL player and be a high draft pick."