Lawal takes in his first ASU visit

The recruiting process for Malik Lawal could be one full of frustration as he rehabs from his torn ACL suffered just a few months ago. Then again, Arizona State has been unwavering in their approach and level of interest towards the Temecula, Calif. linebacker and he in turn rewarded the Sun Devils with an unofficial visit over the weekend.

"It was really good," Lawal said. "I got to see an in-depth look of, if I were to commit, where I'd be living and all that. I got to go look at the Barrett Honors College, which was really good because that's sort of what I'm shooting for. I know they've got the number one honors college. I also met the strength coach and we were just talking about, how the freshmen come in and all work as one group early in the morning and sort of set the tone for them. It was cool."

Lawal wasn't only impressed by the here and now at Arizona State, but also for what the future holds for the program.

"Just the fact that they're getting the stadium worked on and all the new facilities," Lawal noted, "I mean, their facilities are wonderful already, but just the fact that they're going to improve on them and just all the stuff they have and the things that students do while at school, like the bowling alley and the basketball courts and stuff like that, it was pretty cool."

The 6-0 220-pound Malik Lawal is being recruited by linebackers coach Keith Patterson, who told the linebacker that with his skill set he would fit in the WILL role.

"He likes the fact that I'm more of a stealth linebacker guy and can rush off the edge and go crazy," Lawal remarked. "I have the athleticism that some linebackers don't have and can go back and cover in space. Pretty much I can do both.

"I think it fits me because I play defensive line for my school, so I'm pretty used to going up against offensive linemen. And I'm constantly pushing so I can go after the quarterback more because sacking the quarterback is my favorite thing to do."

The linebacker tore his ACL during a triple jumping event in a track meet this past March. Even with slim chances of playing any games during his senior year, Lawal noted that ASU has given him a lot of comfort during the recruiting process, as they have not backed off one iota and are truly pursuing him as if he was 100 percent healthy.

"No matter what's happened they've always been there for me," Lawal admitted. Even though I've had this injury, they still want me to know that the offer still stands because of the character of the person that I am. I'm also considering Washington State. I'm pretty heavy on them too. They're pretty nice. Arizona State is obviously leading, but Washington State is coming up in the rankings."

"I might get cleared around October or September. But it's also about how it'd be for me over time and what's best for me. If I have a chance to help my team win a championship and get a ring and all that, I'd love to get that chance. But if not, I might just sit out."

Lawal's unique situation, despite the high level of attention he is receiving from the two aforementioned Pac-12 programs, does put the timetable for his decision somewhat in limbo, and there is only so long he and his camp can wait until the fog of uncertainty clears.

"Me and my coaches talked about it and it all depends on how my recruiting goes," Lawal explained. "If it dies off I'll probably just look at those two schools and decide before the season starts. But if it does pick up, I'll probably wait it out and decide what schools I want to take official visits to.

"Schools like USC and the University of Washington, they haven't offered me yet but we've sort of been in contact. And then the coach from Vanderbilt said that if I'm still open later that maybe we can talk and I could get an offer from them later on in the year. I guess we'll just see what happens."

And when it comes time for the linebacker to pick his school of choice, Lawal said that he first and foremost will look at academics in the list of factors.

"I'm going to look to see how the coaches are," Lawal said, "I really care about facilities a lot. Distance from home…I'm not trying to go just anywhere and leave California and all my friends and family behind."

Byron Kline contributed to this article.

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