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Sunday, February 19, 2012
Lawson wants to prove he's versatile

By Michael DiRocco

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Defensive end Carl Lawson of Alpharetta (Ga.) Milton High School wants to make one thing clear: He isn't just a hand-on-the-ground player.

The 6-foot-3, 240-pound junior has been working on dropping into coverage and rushing the passer from an outside linebacker spot, and he said it's something he's eager to prove he's capable of doing in summer camps and throughout his upcoming senior season.

"I know people have misconceptions about me whether or not I can stand up or possibly play that outside linebacker position," Lawson said after participating in Florida's junior day. "I've been practicing."

That's why he is so intrigued with Florida. The Gators are recruiting him to play the buck position -- which is a hybrid end/linebacker -- in their multiple 3-4 and 4-3 schemes. It's the spot currently manned by rising junior Ronald Powell. Lawson has had offers from numerous schools -- including Alabama, Auburn, UCLA and USC -- but he said being able to play end and linebacker makes the Gators among the schools at the top of his list.

"Ever since my recruiting started a month ago most of my offers consist of 3-4 schools," Lawson said. "Not saying I'm not going to go play there in a 3-4 system, but at the same time what I've been working on is standing up and being able to drop and the coverage. Last year was my first year of varsity. Before that I played a little bit of outside linebacker. It's been an easy transition."

Lawson said he enjoyed his junior day visit, especially the stadium and academic support system. He rated it an 8.5 on a scale of 1-10. But he also said he's going to take an unofficial visit to Auburn next week ("I love the town down there," he said) and also plans on visiting Tennessee. He will be at Ole Miss' spring game and is planning on visiting USC and UCLA this summer and possibly Oregon as well.

He also said he plans on participating in UF's Friday Night Lights.

"I like how they really, really want me to come here," he said.