With one game left and that contest coming against the Oklahoma Sooners, Lawson is all business as the Tigers look to finish off the year with a victory in the Sugar Bowl. Saying he’ll move to that following the game on Monday night, the defensive end said his mind is on the Sooners.
“I've really been focused on Auburn,” Lawson said. “A lot of people don’t get this opportunity. A lot of people don’t get the opportunity to play in a Sugar Bowl. I’m extremely blessed and I’m going to soak up each and every opportunity I get. The little events they have for us, that stuff’s fun. I’m into the game but I’m also enjoying the things that come with the bowl. It’s a great experience. I’m soaking it up.”
Following a pair of season-ending injuries the last two seasons, Lawson has made up for it with a strong 2016. Tops on the team with nine sacks and 12 ½ tackles for losses, he said for him it has been fun to be healthy and be able to grow as a player throughout a season.
“It's a great experience,” he said. “All that bad stuff aside, every day at Auburn has been great. I have the fellowship with my brother, and just got to live this college football experience. Everything leading up to this point has been a great experience.”
His coaches and teammates have talked about Lawson being a “quiet leader”, but this week he’s trying to change that by enjoying the festivities surrounding the Sugar Bowl. He admits he’s enjoying things surrounding the Sugar Bowl, but football is never too far away.
“It’s easy because sometimes I will get too caught up, too stressed out about football,” Lawson said of showing his lighter side. “At the end of the day this is a game and it’s meant to be fun. I really appreciate this bowl experience and I have been able to balance out making sure I’m prepared along with being able to enjoy the things that come with the Sugar Bowl.”
In addition to talking with his family about his upcoming decision, Lawson said he’ll also lean on former high school and Auburn teammate Peyton Barber as well as Coaches Kevin Steele and Rodney Garner.
Both veterans of the profession and with contacts all over the National Football League, both Steele and Garner have prepared him well said Lawson and it’s something he’ll continue to take in.
“They’re not coaching us just to be average college players, they are coaching us to be pros,” Lawson said. “He tells us to go about our business as being pros and have a permanent mindset. He doesn’t want to sit there and yell at you the whole time. Get your work done and take care of your body, little things like that. I remember I was watching something on Kevin Greene the other day and Coach Steele was coaching Kevin Greene up on the NFL Network.
“Coach G has had multiple guys in the league. I’m telling you, since I was a freshman he’s literally been talking about what the expectations of a pro are. He says ‘be a pro long before you’re a pro’. Just having those two guys is very helpful and I’m very blessed to have those two guys.”
Now it’s time for his career to perhaps come to an end. If that’s the case, Lawson said Auburn will always have a special place in his heart.
“I felt it immediately when I got here,” he said of something different at Auburn. “I really appreciated the Auburn family and what Auburn stood for and the integrity. It’s always been there but I guess it grew the more I was able to experience it.”