It was the third time visiting the Durham campus and the Duke coaching staff for South Mecklenburg defensive end Jake Lawler. And, like the first two, the highly recruited prospect received a similar message from the Blue Devils’ coaching staff.
“Coach Cutcliffe told me that I’m their guys for 2017,” said Lawler. “The whole staff has told me I’m the guy they want to build a class around, which I think is amazing to hear.”
At 6-foot- 3 and 225 pounds, Lawler is described as a player who excels at getting off the line and winning the point of attack with his hands. Scout.com’s experts also note that Lawler is “very athletic and does nice job shedding blocks. Lawler plays fast, but under control and takes good angles when pursuing the football.”
That seems like the kind of player that has excelled in Duke’s system this season, and the kind of player Coach Cutcliffe and company are recruiting more of. Which explains the role the coaches are pitching.
“They are pitching the position of Devil. It’s a hybrid outside linebacker-defensive end. They say I can play this well because of my athleticism, strength, speed and size. They think I’m a perfect fit for this position, and I’m their top guy in 2017 for it.
And while he may be the top target on the board, Lawler has plenty of other options which he’ll explore. He has offers from Charlotte, NC State, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, and Wake Forest. Each of which he hopes to visit.
“I know I’m going back to visit Duke and North Carolina, and I’m going to visit Wake this Saturday. Other than those I’m not sure [of other visits].
Included in those programs are a number of aggressive and strong recruiters. So, what are some of the more interesting recruiting methods Lawler has encountered today?
“I think the most unique tool I’ve seen is definitely the personalized edits. For lack of a more eloquent word, it’s really cool to see stuff like that. But, I think the most useful tool has been the communication with coaches. I love meeting new people and seeing such an eclectic group of individuals has been very interesting.
On the season Lawler reports a personal stat sheet that includes 33 tackles, nine tackles for loss, and 6.5 sacks through five games.