For Pottsboro (TX) defensive end Justin Lawler, it just took being on the Hilltop just one time before he decided to pull the trigger. The two-star prospect closed the door on his recruitment in early June and committed to SMU.
"I just felt good about SMU. I made a visit up there and really liked it up there. I felt like it was a really good place for me," Lawler said. "The facilities were really nice. Everything is really close on the campus so everything is right there. All the coaches were really nice so I just liked it up there."
Defensive line coach Bert Hill is responsible for finding Lawler, an under-recruited tackling machine with tons of potential. The 6-foot-5, 230-pounder has the motor to play outside linebacker but said he will instead bulk up and play defensive end in SMU's 3-4 scheme.
"Coach Hill has been recruiting me, and we have a pretty good relationship. We talk about once every other week," Lawler said. "We've talked about where I'm going to fit in, and he said I'm probably going to play with my hand in the ground as a defensive end."
At Pottsboro, Lawler is also a force on the offensive side of the ball. Last season, he caught 43 passes for 696 yards and seven touchdowns. But his skillset as a pass rusher is too much for Hill to pass up.
"I'm a hard worker. I think one of my best attributes is just pass rushing," Lawler said. "Coach Hill said that I've got really good reach and speed. He said I would be a good fit for their 3-4 defense."
Both North Texas and UTSA have also extended offers to Lawler, but he insists that SMU is his only option at the moment.
"It doesn't matter if other places continue to recruit me or not, I'm solid with SMU," Lawler said. "There is really not a chance of me going anywhere else."
Instead of making visits to other schools, Lawler will be in the weight room getting stronger for his senior season. The reigning 5-2A Defensive Player of the Year recorded 91 tackles and 5.5 sacks in 2011 and has even bigger expectations for 2012.
"I've really been working on everything. I work out four or five days a week. I'm working towards topping what I did last year," Lawler said. "I want to be first-team all-state, not just honorable mention. District MVP is another goal, and I just need to get better everyday."
Lawler can't wait to be a Mustang
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