Add another one to the list. The North Carolina Central football team added its fifth FBS transfer to its football roster Saturday night.
De’Niro Laster, a linebacker, posted on his personal Twitter account that he would be closing out his college career with the Eagles. Laster, a native of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, started his playing career at Minnesota but played at Kentucky last season.
Laster is a 6-4, 241-pound inside linebacker, who was a three-star player coming out of Cleveland Heights High School. He earned his degree in May and will be eligible to play right away for N.C. Central, which won its first outright MEAC title in 2016.
In 2014 Laster played in nine games as a redshirt freshman with the Gophers, making seven tackles. That same season he was also named to the Academic All-Big Ten list. He sat out 2015 at Kentucky due to NCAA transfer rules but did practice with the team. He missed most of last season with a knee injury, recording 14 tackles in five games during his lone season in Lexington. Laster also recorded one sack and a fumble recovery in 2016.
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N.C. Central lost three starters from last season’s top-ranked defense, and each of those starters could be potentially replaced by FBS transfers. The Eagles need to replace All-Conference performers Mike Jones (cornerback/kick returner), LeGrande Harley (linebacker) and Freddy Henry-Ajudua (defensive end). Last week N.C. Central signed former Louisville cornerback Alphonso Carter, who should compete to fill the void left by Jones. Former Buffalo defensive end Randy Anyanwu went through spring drills with the Eagles and immediately stepped into Henry-Ajudua’s spot. The signing of Laster gives N.C. Central a former starter in the SEC to possibly play next to returning starter Reggie Hunter, an All-MEAC selection from last season and the team’s leading tackler.
The Eagles open the season on Sept. 2 against Duke at Wallace Wade Stadium in the Bull City Gridiron Classic.