“Carl is phenomenal,” Thompson said. “He’s what every coach wants in a player. The guy is an off-the-chart intelligent football player. He loves ball. He’s always putting in extra time and effort. You can’t say enough good things about Carl Lawson. He’s a phenomenal kid.
He’s a phenomenal player. He’ll make a difference in the performance of the defense with just his individual play. We’ve got to be smart how we use him. It’s a long season, but I’m really excited about Carl Lawson.”
What Lawson can do for a football team doesn’t just stop at what he can do from his position on the field, that’s just the start. One of the hardest working players on the team, Lawson is the first guy in the film room after practice and also the first in line for drills every day. That attitude and work ethic is something that Thompson is using as an example for incoming freshman Jeff Holland to help him understand what it takes to excel in the Southeastern Conference.
“Jeff is a freshman and he’s going through some things because there is a learning curve,” Thompson said. “In a lot of ways it’s not the playbook, but the intensity and the effort required. I said ‘you’ve got the best way to learn’. He asked me ‘what’s that coach?’ and I told him to watch that number 55 guy. If you play like that guy does then you’re playing right. He’s a tremendous asset for the entire program.
“Coach Malzahn talked about it after the first scrimmage, he’s just a guy that loves to play ball. At this level and for guys that aspire to go to the next level, if they don’t have that genuine love for ball and don’t embrace the hard stuff they can’t get to that level. There’s nothing too hard for Carl. There’s nothing he won’t do to get better and that’s the mindset you really need in an elite level player.”
While the defense is the obvious beneficiary to Lawson’s play, the offense also gets plenty of help from him and it’s not just on Saturdays. Working against the offense every day in practice Lawson puts the pressure on offensive tackles Shon Coleman and Avery Young while making quarterback Jeremy Johnson know where he is on every snap.
Lawson is in phenomenal shape as he gets ready to get back on the field following his injury that caused him to miss all of last season
A veteran coach that has gone against some of the best college football has to offer on the defensive side of the ball, Auburn OL Coach J.B. Grimes worked against a pair of great players while he was coaching for Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech and believes Lawson is already a step above both.
“When I was at Virginia Tech we had a guy by the name of Cornell Brown that ended up winning the Outland,” Grimes said. “We had a guy by the name of Corey Moore that ended up winning the Outland. I think Carl Lawson is better than both of them.
“He’s like hitting an iron bar,” Grimes added. “He’s so strong and so quick. He’s got such a unique combination of strength and quickness and desire, and he’s a football player. He’s the package in my opinion and makes us better. I love going against guys like that.”
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