Nickname- Manny Long Legs or Stretch
6-5, 245 pounds
Eastern Wayne High School, Goldsboro, NC
- As a sophomore, Lawson tallied 53 total tackles including seven tackles for loss and three sacks. He also had three pass breakups and two blocked punts.
- In 2003, Lawson was in for 392 plays. He recorded a tackle, pass breakup or blocked punt on 15% (58) of the plays.
- As a junior, Lawson tallied 50 total tackles, 12 tackles-for-loss, seven sacks, one caused fumble, two fumble recoveries, five pass breakups and one block
- In 2004, Lawson was in for 473 plays. He recorded a tackle, caused fumble, recovered fumble, QB hurry, pass breakup or blocked kick on 16% (75) of the plays.
- Selected as most valuable specialist for NC State as both a freshman and sophomore. Named second team all-conference and team most valuable defensive lineman as a junior.
High School Accolades
- high school conference defensive player of the year
- two star prospect and No. 20 player in NC by SuperPrep magazine
- WR coach John "Doc" Holliday
Prior to the beginning of the 2004 season we recognized Lawson as a sleeper for all-conference honors. We had no idea that the rising senior would become one of the most disruptive defensive ends in the nation and a preseason candidate for the Bednarik Award that recognizes the country's top defender. Prior to 2004, Lawson appeared to be a phenomenal athlete in search of a position. Having moved to DE during the Tangerine Bowl in 2003, Lawson stats behind the line of scrimmage ballooned in 2004. He nearly doubled his tackles-for-loss and sacks and was named the nation's defender of the week after a three-sack performance against eventual ACC champion Virginia Tech. The combination of Lawson and fellow Bednarik candidate Mario Williams will likely give NC State it's top defensive end tandem in school history.
Lawson won't go into 2005 an unknown as he did in 2004. While schools chose to focus on slowing down Mario Williams, the cat-quick Lawson thrived. Several pounds heavier, stronger and a year older, Lawson is almost a lock for all-conference honors barring an injury. On the national stage, he has the speed, talent and flair to come away with all-american honors and an outside shot at the Bednarik Award.