Lawrence on the Mend

CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- Some friendly competition between North Carolina verbal commitments resulted in an injury that has shelved Desmond Lawrence for a couple of months.

Despite possessing a UNC scholarship offer, Lawrence, a 6-foot, 175-pound defensive back, participated in "Fedora's Freak Show" camp in June.

"There were all the top guys there that they were recruiting and there were some big-time receivers there," Lawrence said. "I wanted to show that I could compete with anyone – no matter where they were from. So I wanted Coach [Dan] Disch and Coach [Larry] Fedora to see me. They told me that I didn't have to do anything, but I wanted to prove that I deserved to be there. And I think I did."

During one-on-one drills at the camp, Lawrence tore his meniscus.

"I was guarding Jordan Fieulleteau on the one-on-ones," Lawrence explained. "I went up to pick [the ball] off and I deflected it. When I came down, I didn't hear a pop."

Lawrence returned to the camp unaware of the seriousness of the injury.

"I didn't even know it was torn, so I played on it throughout the whole camp," Lawrence said. "I went to the doctor [afterwards] and they told me it was torn."

Lawrence went on to have surgery.

"Supposedly, my knee will be stronger after all the rehab," Lawrence said.

While going through rehab, Lawrence has attended all of Charlotte Christian's practices. His participation has been limited and he sustained a minor setback.

"Before I was sent to the doctor [recently], I was running with my trainer and cutting and stuff – doing everything everybody else was doing but by myself," Lawrence said. "I went back to my doctor and he said he wanted to get my swelling down. He thinks running is keeping the swelling up, so we're going to stay off the running for about a week and try to get the swelling down. And then we'll start back up next week."

Lawrence will miss Christian's season opener against Lasker (N.C.) Northeast Academy next Friday. However, he hopes to play against Columbia (S.C.) Hammond on Aug. 24.

Once back on the field, Lawrence will continue to be a big part of what Christian does.

In the past, Lawrence was almost exclusively used as a running back on offense. This season, running back will continue to be his primary position, but he'll also see more snaps at slot receiver. He will also handle kickoff and punt return duties.

"Try to get the ball to me so I can make a play," Lawrence said of the plan of attack. "At wide out, we're going to see if I can get any mismatches and it won't take as big of a toll on my body."

Defensively, Lawrence's usage will also see a slight change. Previously, he would play safety unless the opponent featured a big time receiver, in which case Lawrence would play cornerback. This fall, Lawrence will start off exclusively at cornerback.

"If we find teams are staying away from me too much, then I'll probably move back [to safety]," Lawrence said.

The extensive experience at cornerback will also help Lawrence with his collegiate career. Despite his ability to play several different positions, UNC projects him as a cornerback.

Since committing to UNC in April, Lawrence has never wavered.

"I'm definitely firm," Lawrence said. "No other schools have been trying to contact me. The last one that tried to contact me was Georgia and that was the week after I committed to North Carolina.

"But I'm firm. I'm liking where I'm at. We have a nice recruiting class that is moving up in the rankings and we're making the dream team happen."

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