Lawrence Steadily Getting Better

One of the main questions for the defending national champion Florida Gators is who will step up at wide receiver. The Gators lost their top two targets at the position when Percy Harvin left early for the pros and Louis Murphy graduated. One freshman trying to make an impact is Lakeland's T.J. Lawrence. Lawrence has been steady at practice but knows he has to improve in order to make an impact.

T.J. Lawrence amassed more than 2,000 yards and 27 touchdowns receiving in his last two years in high school. An Under Armour All-American, Lawrence came to Florida with hopes of being the next great Florida receiver. He redshirted his freshman year, not a surprise given the talent on hand, but is ready to get on the field in his second year on campus.

Lawrence has been steady at practice making some difficult catches and catching almost everything thrown his way. He knows there is one area he really needs to improve if he is going to make a difference for the defending national champions in 2009.

"It's going well," Lawrence said of his spring so far. "I just feel I need to be a little better than I am now. My route running is not as good as it is supposed to be right now. I need to work on what they teach us to do to come out of our breaks fast."

Lawrence understands what he has to do and will just have to spend some time away from regular practice adjusting his running to something he never did before. Wide receiver coach Billy Gonzales, who has been approached by a couple of NFL teams as an employer in the last couple of years, wants Lawrence to do a bit more with his arms to help him with his route running.

"I really have problems pumping my arms," Lawrence said. "It makes you faster and you can confuse the DB's more if you pump your arms even if you are coming in and out of your breaks."

With the inability for college coaches to spend extra time with players outside of normal practice situations, Lawrence will have to lean on teammates to help him when Coach Gonzales is not around. He has one teammate in mind who has already been a huge help to him when needed.

"I have to come out and work with David Nelson a little bit," Lawrence said. "I ask him to get me better every day and he always has no problem doing it. I always watch him, because I feel like he is one of the best route runners if not the best route runner on the team and we play the same position."

This spring has definitely had his moments to shine. He has pretty good speed and is built to take a pounding over the middle if the route calls for him to run there. Numerous deep corner routes and post patterns have come his way so the quarterbacks are not shying away from him as a target. The will to get better means he should improve quickly and bodes well for his chances to see the field a good deal in his second year on campus.

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