Lawrence Finishing Strong

MOORESVILLE, N.C. --- It's not how you start, but how you finish. North Carolina pledge Desmond Lawrence is learning how true that statement really is.

After a rocky beginning to his senior football season, which included missing or being limited in multiple games thanks for a torn meniscus and three early losses, Lawrence and his Charlotte (N.C.) Christian teammates finished on a seven-game winning streak which included a 24-21 victory in the NCSIAA 11-man, Division I title game.

"Everything we prepared for, everything we worked for in the summer eventually paid off," Lawrence said. "We played a good team [in the title game] in Providence Day. It was a 15-round game, so we had to keep our head focused, keep confident that we were going to win the game, and believe that we were going to win the game."

For his accomplishments on the field, Lawrence, a 6-foot, 175-pounder, has earned a spot in the Oasis All-Star Shrine Game representing North Carolina against South Carolina.

"It's been a good experience so far," Lawrence said after Tuesday's practice. "It's just good to know you can come out here with the guys that you just played and you guys are all cool talking about what you did during the season. It's just a fun experience."

Now Lawrence is focused on winning one last football game – the Oasis All-Star Shrine Game this Saturday at Mooresville (N.C.) High School. Kickoff is set for 1pm.

"You definitely want to win your last football game regardless if it's serious or it's just an all-star game," Lawrence said. "So it would mean a lot to win this one to show that North Carolina has the better talent."

At Christian, Lawrence played both defensive back and running back accumulating 1,299 yards and 11 touchdowns on 139 carries and 201 yards and a touchdown on 14 catches. But in the Shrine Game, his focus will be at defensive back teaming with Duke pledge Bryon Fields.

"Really, it's just Fields and I are trying to take away half of the field," Lawrence said. "We're trying to make [South Carolina] play with a half. We're looked at as the lockdown side. He's mostly playing safety and I'm playing corner, but we'll flip flop."

Come Saturday Lawrence's reps might not be exclusive to the defensive side of the ball.

"We're trying to keep it under wraps, but we may put me and Fields in at Wildcat and then they might slot me in at receiver," Lawrence said.

As for his collegiate career, Lawrence's usage hasn't exactly been defined. He could end up playing either cornerback or safety – or both – as a Tar Heel.

"We really don't know yet," Lawrence said. "With my body type, it fits their defense perfectly. That's why I committed to the school, because I'll have an opportunity to play early and be more effective in that system."

Lawrence lacks a position preference.

"Wherever I can get on the field first, it doesn't matter," Lawrence said. "Anywhere I can benefit and help my team, that's where I want to play." Regardless, the UNC coaches, whom he speaks to on a weekly basis, have told Lawrence to arrive prepared to see playing time.

"They told me to come in ready to go," Lawrence said. "Even if I'm not ready to go, it would be okay if I red-shirt and get better. But right now it sounds like I'll be coming in and playing early."

Larry Fedora, Gunter Brewer, and Dan Disch are the UNC coaches Lawrence speaks to the most.

"Now there's no more recruiting talking – I'm getting the real deal," Lawrence said. "Lately, we've been talking about my official visit. I might take one by myself before, but probably with a lot of guys in January. The coaches want me to take an official visit with all the guys in January."

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