Lawson learning tricks of the trade

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CORNELIUS, N.C. — Carl Lawson was just getting used to putting his hand in the dirt on the varsity level as a sophomore.

Working with little more than freakish skills alone, the Milton (Ga.) High School defensive end racked up 87 tackles and 15 sacks his junior year.

Since seeing his team's season end last November, the four-star prospect has done nothing but improve with the camp and combine circuit, his latest being participation in the Charlotte Nike Football Training Camp on Sunday.

"I feel like I dominated," said Lawson, who carried home an MVP plaque and medal. "That's what I wanted to do, but I felt like I was a little tired today because I've been having spring practice. It felt great that I got a chance to compete. It felt like my performance was great, but not what I wanted it to be.

"I went undefeated. I didn't lose any reps. But, I want my reps to be way more dominant than they were. I'm always trying to be perfect and maybe beat my opponents in less than two seconds, not in three. I just want to be more dominant than I was."

Lawson, who committed to Auburn back on March 24, noted that he has gotten much better at using his hands and shedding blocks in pursuit of ball carriers.

"Last year was my first year playing varsity football (as a starter)," he told InsideTennessee. "My sophomore year I played maybe three games of varsity. I still had good games my sophomore year. I wasn't acclimated to the game last year. I was still making plays but it was more off of raw talent than actually knowing what to do. So, this year when I got to spring practice, I could recognize blocks a lot easier. I was a lot more fluid in practice, just a lot easier."

For his efforts this spring Lawson has earned a spot at The Opening, presented by Nike Football, on July 5-8 in Oregon.

"I love it," he said. "I love that I get the chance to compete out there at The Opening. I'm just ecstatic about it."

The Alpharetta, Ga., resident ranks at No. 180 in the Scout 300 and the No. 17 defensive end in the country. Schools like Alabama, Florida, Georgia Tech and Tennessee still in pursuit of his services. However, they are all in Auburn's rear view mirror presently as he put his commitment level to Auburn at "95 percent."

"Collectively, as a whole, it was just the best choice," Lawson said of picking the Tigers. "That's what I really like about Auburn. Every little different aspect. My family loved it too — that's another aspect schools tend to forget."

Lawson said the recruiter that steered him to Auburn is first-year defensive line coach Mike Pelton, who was hired by coach Gene Chizik on March 2.

Regardless, the Volunteers are not slowing down their efforts of getting Lawson's signature. First-year defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri is Tennessee's lead on the 6-foot-2 1/2, 245-pounder. The Vols have made it known that the four-star is their top target at outside linebacker.

"He's crazy but he tells you exactly…he's probably the best 3-4 outside linebackers coach from what I can tell," Lawson said of Sunseri.

The Class of 2013 standout has already made a couple unofficial trips to Knoxville with his last coming just over a month ago. It sounds as though he will trip again before Milton starts grinding toward their bid to take home a state championship in the GHSA's Class AAAAA classification.

"My parents want me to take another visit to Tennessee," Lawson said.

Lawson will not enroll in college in January. He is one of eight Auburn verbal commits.

Danny Parker is currently the Associate Editor, Recruiting Analyst and Staff Photographer for He was previously the sports editor at Shelbyville Times-Gazette. He joined the InsideTennessee team July 2011.

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