December 30, 2011

Ga. junior on the verge of breaking out

Everybody knew about University of Alabama commitment Reuben Foster, but it's a defender on the opposing team who has really turned heads this week with his performance at the Rising Seniors Georgia Junior Bowl.

Carl Lawson, a defensive end/outside linebacker hybrid, has put on a show this week during the practice sessions in Atlanta.

"The week has been real good," Lawson said. "There's a lot of nice competition, and I've just been going out there, competing and showing out. I love the mentality of everybody teaching us how to become better football players and how to be better in life. It's not all about the game."

Lawson will be a name to keep an eye on during tonight's all-star game, which is scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. EST and will be broadcasted live on ESPN3.

The Alpharetta, Ga., product hasn't been through the camp circuit like other top prospects in the game, and therefore is somewhat of an unknown. His performance this week has changed that, and he may be on the verge of breaking out.

At this point, Lawson doesn't hold any scholarship offers, but says he's hearing from Alabama, Auburn, Florida, South Carolina, Syracuse, UCF and Virginia. He thinks the Tigers may be closest to offering.

Last month, Lawson visited Auburn for the Iron Bowl where he got to see the Crimson Tide play in person. He came away impressed with both programs.

"I love the mentality of both teams," Lawson said. "To see how that defense for Alabama was and how disciplined those guys were, it was all in sync. I would really like to be a part of that. On the Auburn side, I felt like I was part of the family already. It was just a great trip for me, a great experience."

If he held offers from every school, Lawson said Alabama, Auburn, Florida and Texas A&M would make up his top four.

The Tigers are showing him the most love, but the idea of playing the Jack linebacker spot in Alabama's 3-4 defense is appealing, and the Gators and Aggies also run a similar defense with that hybrid linebacker position.

"I love the position because it's a hybrid position," Lawson said. "I get the best of both worlds. I get to drop back in coverage, but I also get to go get the quarterback, which I love. That's why I gave up playing outside linebacker. Those two combined is what I'm looking for, and that's why Alabama one of my top schools."

Lawson expects to start receiving offers in the near future and plans to spend his spring taking visits to prospective schools.

"I'm taking lots of visits. I'm taking visits to Tennessee, Alabama, Auburn, Florida," Lawson said. "I don't known if I'm going to visit Syracuse because they're showing a lot of interest, but they're so far away. As a team, we're going down to UCF."

Reach Greg Ostendorf at

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