Illinois will not announce Garden City (Kan.) Community College Dwayne Lawson as part of its Signing Day class on Wednesday, a source told Illini Inquirer. Lawson still has a lot of work to accomplish in the classroom before earning his associate's degree, a requirement for him to transfer to Illinois.
Lawson, who committed to Illinois in December, still could join Illinois for the fall semester or later. Illinois cannot comment on a player until he signs a national letter of intent or tender of financial aid, which Lawson will not do until he completes his academic work.
Lawson transferred out of Virginia Tech last fall and joined Garden City a few games into the season. Garden City coach Jeff Sims mentioned to Illini Inquirer in December that Lawson still had to focus in the classroom to get to Illinois.
"The key for him to compete right away is to get there as soon as possible," Sims said. "The longer it takes him to graduate from him, the longer it takes for him to get there and that would be the problem. I would tell you that the smartest thing they could ever do is not play him next year. He needs to graduate from this place. He went to Virginia Tech and played sparingly. He came here and he played sparingly. Everyone wants to throw him in (right away). Listen, the day he walks on the campus, he's the best athlete on the campus. That's the truth."
The hope was that Lawson could compete with returning junior Chayce Crouch for the starting job this fall.
The 6-foot-6, 231-pound Tampa, Fla., native -- who currently has three years of eligibility to play two -- definitely would add talent. Lawson was ranked the No. 29 quarterback in the Class of 2014 by Scout.com.
But Lawson struggled at Virginia Tech. In his first season with the Hokies, Lawson saw time against Furman and was the official backup to Brenden Motley after Michael Brewer's injury. In the Furman game, Lawson ran for 51 yards and a touchdown and threw for 51 more. But he had just four more yards rushing the rest of the season.
After the Hokies signed junior college transfer Jérod Evans and freshman Josh Jackson, Lawson was relegated to the fourth string.
Lawson didn't arrive at Garden City until partway through training camp and was the second most used quarterback at Garden City this past season, completing 22 of 41 passes for 354 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions. He also ran for 188 yards and three touchdowns on 54 carries.
Illinois coach Lovie Smith will announce his first recruiting class, currently at 23 commitments (including Lawson), at a 2 p.m. press conference Wednesday.