"The first word I want to say [about Lawrence] is physical," Charlotte Christian head coach Jason Estep said. "He's a physical player by nature on both sides of the ball. Offensively, he'll run between the tackles and run hard and try to get extra yards. Defensively, he'll knock somebody out. He has great ball skills... He has a lot of tools – he can run, he has great hands, he's physical, he's starting to learn the game, from an X's and O's standpoint he's starting to see the game a little bit better and understand. He's electric and he can change the game at any moment."
Lawrence began his varsity career primarily as a defensive player, but became a crucial piece to Christian's offense midway through his junior season.
"We predominantly used him on defense, because he's the key to our defense," Estep said. "And then we had a couple of injuries, so we had to put him at tailback… Every time he touches the ball, he has the ability to take it to the house. We would widen him out and mismatch him on a linebacker."
In just half a season at tailback plus his reps as a kickoff and punt returner, Lawrence accumulated over 1,000 all-purpose yards and 12 all-purpose touchdowns.
Defensively, Lawrence began his junior season primarily at cornerback, but as the season went along he played safety more often.
"[At cornerback], if I put him on one side of the field, teams would go to the other – I would do the same thing," Estep said. "If [the opponent] had a great receiver, we'd put Des on him to lock him down. But if it was going to be a balanced team, the versatility of having him in the middle of the field was better for us."
Lawrence ended the season with 60 tackles, three interceptions, and four pass breakups.
Six schools have offered Lawrence – Duke, North Carolina, NC State, South Carolina, Wake Forest, and Virginia.
"No Clemson offer yet, but I think that's going to happen," Estep said. "Notre Dame is starting to get on him. Ohio State has been in here. Southern Cal is evaluating him. Even though the local schools are the ones on him now, I think it's going to be a national deal."
Although he impressed UNC's previous staff during its summer camp, it wasn't until the new staff took office that the Tar Heels offered Lawrence. Since then, Gunter Brewer has made a couple of evaluation trips to Charlotte Christian, including one in which Larry Fedora accompanied him, and Fedora spoke to Lawrence on the phone on Wednesday to make sure he was aware that he had a UNC offer.
"They love him," Estep said of UNC interest in Lawrence. "That new staff wants to put their foot in the state of North Carolina and say ‘We're going to make sure we're not missing any in-state kids.'"
"It was shocking [when UNC offered]," Lawrence said. "My coach told me and I was thinking to myself, ‘Well, Coach [Everett] Withers isn't there anymore so they must have really liked my film.' I'm just really thankful that they are recruiting me and for them to offer me when they got in."
UNC is among the four schools that have become early favorites for Lawrence.
"All the schools have been good to me, especially with South Carolina and North Carolina and Duke and NC State," Lawrence said. "Those four are really pushing."
After camp last summer, Lawrence returned to Chapel Hill for the UNC-Miami game. He has also visited Duke, NC State, and South Carolina. He is considering future trips to Clemson, Tennessee, and Virginia, and plans to return to the Tar Heels camp this summer.
Every school, except for Notre Dame, is recruiting Lawrence as a cornerback. The Fighting Irish see him as an "offensive weapon."
"I think he has the ability to be physical with bigger receivers," Estep said. "He's a great tackler, has a nose for the ball, [and] has great ball skills."
Among Christian's alumni, Lawrence is closest to Matthias Farley, who's currently a wide receiver at Notre Dame. Lawrence is also close to Kelby and Kyler Brown, former teammates who both currently play at Duke… Lawrence plays basketball for Christian and plans to join the track and field team this spring.