CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- Jake Lawler's well-documented connections to North Carolina made receiving a scholarship offer from the school impactful.
The 6-foot-2, 219-pound defensive end from Charlotte (N.C.) South Mecklenburg earned the offer after performing during UNC’s final one-day camp on June.
“It was an incredible feeling,” Lawler said. “We were in Coach [Larry] Fedora’s office – my grandmother, my grandfather, and my mother – and then seeing my mother’s face light up when Coach Fedora said I had an offer was a tremendous feeling. It felt really good.”
To rehash: Lawler’s parents, who grew up in different areas, met while students at UNC. That meeting, of course, eventually resulted in marriage and a pro-Tar Heel household.
Regardless, Lawler says he resisted committing when the UNC offer was presented.
“It’s so early in the process,” Lawler said. “I don’t want to jump right into something that I’m not 100-percent sure about. It’s definitely a great school, but I want to do my homework before I make such a huge decision.”
In a month’s time, Lawler has gone from zero to six scholarship offers. In addition to UNC, he has collected offers from Charlotte, Duke, NC State, Virginia Tech, and Wake Forest.
“I think Carolina and Duke are leading right now,” Lawler said. “Coming up on the sixth [of June] to Duke, they just showed me a tremendous amount of love. And I respect all the coaches to turn the whole entire program around, as well as what Jim Collins and Coach [Jim] Knowles on the defensive side of the ball.
“At Carolina, it’s not just about my connections. I really love the coaches there – I love Coach [Gene] Chizik, I love Coach [Tray] Scott, I love Coach Fedora, [and] I love Coach Brewer. It’s a real family atmosphere when I go there.”
Lawler plans to hold off on making a verbal commitment until after his junior season. He sees the March/April range as a good time frame.
During the camp, Lawler received an opportunity to be coached by Scott, who coaches UNC’s defensive line.
“He’s a great coach,” Lawler said. “He definitely pushes me to be more of a competitor and more intense than I already am. And he brings a lot out of me that I didn’t think I had.”
Following the camp but before receiving the offer, Lawler received positive feedback from every UNC coach he encountered.
“Coach Chizik told me they could use me at their speed end position – they have a strong-side end and a speed end,” Lawler said. “He said I had just the right body type, especially for a young guy, for what they’re looking for.
“Coach Scott said he loved my intensity and my work ethic and he wants to see more of me.
“And Coach Fedora said all the boxes were checked off in terms of character and personality, as well as academics and athletic ability.”
Lawler was invited back to UNC for the following day’s Fedora’s Freak Show. Having worked out the day prior, he accepted the invitation but as a spectator.
“The Freak Show is more for sure, but it’s definitely more competition,” Lawler said. “You definitely see guys with a tremendous amount of offers – four-stars, five-stars. The camp is more drill oriented, whereas the Freak Show is more like a showcase.”
Before the end of the summer, Lawler plans to return to UNC for a third time. He also hopes to squeeze in summer trips to Duke, NC State, Virginia Tech, and Wake Forest. During the season, he definitely wants to attend games at Duke and UNC, and is considering game day visits at Virginia Tech and Wake Forest, also.
UNC Offer A Special Moment for Lawler
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