Roosevelt Lawson hasn't started a game since he was a senior in high school back in Miami. Lawson came to Florida State as just another walk-on who got some time at special teams and that's about it. Over his time in Tallahassee however, he has worked his way into regular rotation with the defense at the rover position.
With an ACC title still possibility, this weekend's game against Maryland is as big as it gets for Florida State. Darius McClure will not be available after injuring himself last weekend against Boston College, the Tribe will be very thin in the secondary once you also factor in that Rolle is be unavailable for at least the first half.
"It's a big opportunity for me and it's a big opportunity for the team," Lawson said. "What we've been stressing that that we still have a chance and to not give up. It would definitely make me feel a lot better if I can help us achieve our goal of winning an ACC Championship."
Lawson did not see much playing time in his early years at Florida State. He never really got a significant amount of reps until this past spring when he climbed his way up to second on the depth chart. He has been on the field enough this season to know his assignments and feel comfortable filling in for Rolle to start the game.
"If this were to happen the same time last year, I would have a lot of jitters," Lawson said. "Last year, I was played very sparingly. I've been getting a lot more reps this year so that is going to help me out a lot."
Being his last season in garnet and gold, Lawson says he has made sure to make every practice and game count knowing that his career is soon to be over.
"This is my senior year. I realize that it's all going to be over for me soon so I don't want to have to look back and think to myself that I should have gone harder in practice or games, so I do my best to go hard every day."
While Lawson's first start will be because of Rolle being out of the state at the time of the kickoff, he still sees this as a huge opportunity. Lawson says he has talked to Rolle about the situation and both with be pulling for each other this weekend.
"We talked about two weeks ago about it, so I already knew ahead of time what to expect," the Miami native said. "He said that he was going to be praying for me and I told him I would do the same in praying for him with the Rhodes Scholarship and everything. A lot of times when someone new starts, it is because of an unfortunate situation. That isn't the case this week; this is a fortunate situation for both me and him."
Lawson has taken this week a little differently as far as approaching the game goes. While he says he acts no differently in film sessions and meetings, Lawson says he is spending extra time on his own preparing.
"This week, I've been doing a lot more studying at home. I usually have time to watch Myron from the sidelines and get a feel of it, but this week I won't have that luxury.
One topic that has been joked about in light of McClure's misfortune is how the team celebrates.
"We usually get pretty physical when we celebrate. That's just how we are," Lawson said.
But in meetings this week, the defensive coordinator had a message to Lawson and everyone else who will be playing Saturday.
"Coach Andrews made a comment to everyone this week saying that if we are going to celebrate, make sure we are athletic enough to jump in the air; if not just give the guy a high five or something."
Lawson will be playing his final three games as a Seminole in the next two months, and will then turn his focus to his future, which look bright. Lawson may not be a Rhodes Scholar, but he will be graduating with a double major in real estate and finance this spring before he begins his next journey in life.