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Thursday, December 13, 2012
Auburn coaches meet with 5-star Lawson

By Kipp Adams

New Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn wasted no time in making the trip to see five-star defensive end Carl Lawson (Alpharetta, Ga./Milton), the highest-rated commitment of the Tigers’ 2013 class. Lawson has stuck with his commitment as he waits to see who might be coaching him for Auburn, and he met with Malzahn first last Friday. His father, Carl Lawson Sr., said the meeting went well.

Carl Lawson
Carl Lawson, No. 2 overall in the ESPN 150, committed to Auburn in March but is uncertain since the school's coaching change.
“It was a good conversation, and we were impressed with what he has done with his career,” Lawson said. “He was very driven and focused on what he wants go get done. “

One thing Malzahn made sure to present to the Lawson family was his gameplan for how Auburn will succeed on the field.

“His vision for Auburn is to be uptempo and physically aggressive on offense, with a defense that matches that mentality under Ellis Johnson,” Lawson said. “He definitely wants a high-powered, high-scoring offense that puts pressure on opponents and a defense that can match that and shut people down.”

Malzahn’s defensive coordinator traveled to Alpharetta, Ga., on Monday to show how Lawson could develop under his tutelage.

“Ellis Johnson had some very complimentary things to say, and we are familiar with his defenses and what he did with Eric Norwood, Melvin Ingram and [Jadeveon] Clowney,” Lawson said. “He does do a lot of things as far as being aggressive and moving guys around. That is something that is intriguing.”

Lawson’s father admitted that the only mystery remaining is who Lawson’s position coach would be if he were to stick with Auburn.

“The defensive line coach hire is the one question mark we have,” Lawson said. “We have no idea who that will be, but of course that will be a big part of Carl’s decision.”

The 6-foot-2, 252-pound defensive end, who registered 26.5 sacks as a senior, has been committed to Auburn since March 24. When Gene Chizik was let go Nov. 25, his future was cast into doubt.

“Carl and us were confused and uncertain about Auburn, because he had been committed for so long, and then when the changes were made, like any recruit, he wanted answers,” Lawson said. “At first we had knee-jerk reactions and panic, but we had to analyze the situation and explore his options, because the factors that led to his decision have changed.”

Over the last two weeks Lawson has had coaches from USC, UNC, Clemson, Ole Miss, Washington, Tennessee, Arizona and a few others come to his home.

“The message we give to them is that we want to figure this thing out as soon as possible and come to a decision as a family,” Lawson said. “Then just focus on Carl coming in and trying to contribute to whatever team he goes to.”

No change has been made in Lawson’s recruitment. His family has, however, been forced to re-enter a recruiting process they thought they were finished with long ago.

“As of right now, he is still committed to Auburn,” Lawson said. “But whereas he was not looking around before, the coaching change caused him to investigate what else is out there. Originally Auburn was a perfect fit for him, but not everything is settled yet with them, so we do not know if it is still a perfect fit.”

No official visits have been set yet, but Lawson and his father have indicated plans to take one to Clemson, and probably visit Ole Miss, UNC and USC as well.