Lawrence Peterson, a 6-2 1/2, 225-pounder from Melrose High, is coming off a big junior season in which he was in on 97 tackles plus eight quarterback sacks.
At the Southeast Elite Camp he wanted to work out with both the defensive ends and linebackers, but had time to do just one position so he worked with the ends. In one on one drills he showed excellent quickness, good moves and a desire to succeed, winning praise from the camp instructors while receiving encouraging words from other prospects at the camp.
A jack linebacker in a 3-4 front at Melrose, Peterson could be an end, an inside linebacker or an outside linebacker at the college level and he has a burning desire to play college football.
He doesn't have any scholarship offers yet, but notes he is getting letters from a variety of colleges and coaches are coming by and checking him out at spring practice that will feature a pair of scrimmages this week on Wednesday and Saturday.
He says he remembers seeing assistant coach Ed Orgeron from Tennessee plus assistants from Middle Tennessee State, Southern Mississippi and Memphis at his school in recent days. "Those are one ones I can think of now off the top of my head," he says.
Peterson says his high school coaches have told him that colleges are looking at him as an end and linebacker. "Right now it is a little bit of both," he notes. "I think it is more as a linebacker."
With excellent size, quickness and solid academics, it is a bit surprising the offers aren't coming in yet for Peterson. He asked his coaches at Melrose about that. "They (the college coaches) want to see more as an inside linebacker or an outside linebacker in a 4-3 defense," is what Peterson says he was told.
The junior notes that he is currently carrying a 2.8 grade point average and has a qualifying score on the ACT. "I want to be a pharmacist and have a minor in business," he says of his college plans. "I would like to open my own pharmaceutical clinic someday."
This summer he plans to visit as many college camps as possible. "I am going to make sure I go to the Gene Chizik Camp in Auburn," he says, noting Auburn is one of the schools he is interested in after being recruited by former AU coach Tommy Tuberville's staff last year. "Auburn always mails me and my coach was a friend of Coach Tuberville," he adds.
Lawrence Peterson is shown at the Scout.com Southeast Elite Camp.
Prior to starting spring training, Peterson showed serious dedication to his sport by getting on a bus at 9 a.m. on a Saturday in Memphis to get to the Southeast Elite Camp in Tuscaloosa the following day after his ride to the event fell through. He arrived in Birmingham at 3:30 a.m. on Sunday, caught a ride to his hotel, grabbed a couple of hours of sleep and worked out with intensity later that morning and afternoon.
"The camp was a good experience for me," he says. "I think I did a great job. I believe I was the best defensive lineman down there." After attending the camp, he didn't have to hop a bus back to Memphis because he caught a ride home with other prospects from the Memphis area who worked out at the event.
This spring Peterson says he is working on becoming better at stopping the run and becoming a better pass rusher. He says defending the pass is a strength heading into his senior year after being a key contributor on a Melrose team that finished 9-4 last season and reached the semi-finals of the state playoffs.