CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- North Carolina is among the schools that has shown interest in Jake Lawler. If the Tar Heels offer the 6-foot-3, 225-pound South Mecklenburg defensive end it could result in a commitment.
“Jake is a special kid – not just in the way he plays, but in the way he does everything,” South Meck head coach Rocky White said. “He comes to the early morning workouts. He comes to 2:30 workouts. If we had midnight workouts out, Jake would be there. He’s a true road warrior in the weight room… If you had 100 Jake Lawlers, you’d go undefeated.
“He has good size. He has a fast get-off and uses his hands well.”
Three games into his freshman year, Lawler was promoted to varsity. That season, he was part of the defensive line rotation.
Lawler became a full time starter – at three-technique while weighing 210 pounds – the following season. He ended the year with 54 tackles, seven sacks, a forced fumble, and a pass deflection.
“He never flinched, he never complained about it,” White said.
Graduation has opened up an opportunity for Lawler to move to defensive end, his more natural position. He’ll play opposite of 2016 prospect Zack Gilbert.
South Meck has been busy during the Spring Evaluation Period. According to White, colleges nationwide have dropped by with Boston College, Clemson, Charlotte, Louisville, Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina, NC State, and Virginia Tech expressing the most interest in Lawler.
To say that Lawler grew up in a UNC household would be an understatement.
“My parents went there, they met there, they married there,” Lawler said.
Thus, an offer from UNC will likely be a game changer for Lawler.
“Every offer is a special one, but [a UNC] offer is going to be different,” Lawler said. “My mom’s probably going to cry, my dad’s probably going to cry – it will be a good [offer]. It definitely will be something to think about.”
Accompanied by teammate and fellow ’17 recruit Jacobe Clement, Lawler attended UNC’s “block party” junior day in late March. In addition to tours and presentations, the event included one of the Tar Heels’ spring practices.
“I really liked their practice – they practice with fire and intensity and they look like they’re having a lot of fun out there,” Lawler said. “We looked around [and] it’s really nice facilities. And the food was pretty good. It was special.”
Additionally, Lawler has visited Charlotte and Virginia Tech. He also made those trips with Clement, who holds Charlotte and NC State offers. The two have discussed a possible package deal.
“When Jacobe came in [last] summer, I was like, ‘Oh, it’s just another kid,’” Lawler said. “And then I saw during the summer that he could play. We started talking and I realized we had a lot of things in common. We’ve gotten really close. I think that going to the same school is what’s going to happen.”
Lawler is also close with Gilbert and his father, Sean, who played a dozen seasons in the NFL. Lawler credits the Gilberts for his growth as a defensive lineman.
Lawler’s sights are set on summer camps, with Clemson, UNC, NC State, and Wake Forest among his destinations.
Lawler is considering a major in the medicine field, since his mother is a nurse. But he also has an interest in history.
2017 Target: Jake Lawler
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