NCF On The Trail: Carl Lawson

How Missouri and Auburn were built 

December, 4, 2013
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After losing 16 games combined last season, Missouri and Auburn have come a long ways as they prepare to face off Saturday in the SEC championship game. How, exactly, did both of these schools get here?

Their success on the field this season -- just two losses combined -- is more impressive considering Auburn is in Gus Malzahn's first season as coach and Missouri moved over from the Big 12 to the SEC before last season. Recruiting is tough enough as it is, but going through such a major transition for both programs can be detrimental to a school's recruiting class.

[+] EnlargeDorial Green-Beckham
Mark Zerof/USA TODAY SportsFormer No. 1 overall recruit Dorial Green-Beckham has caught 49 passes for 686 yards and 10 touchdowns this season.
If games were determined by recruiting rankings, Missouri would be at a big disadvantage. Over the past five years, Missouri has never finished inside the top 25 in the team recruiting rankings. In that same time period, the Tigers have landed only five recruits ranked in the ESPN 300.

Top SEC recruiting rivalries 

October, 1, 2013
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From year-to-year the Southeastern Conference is full of recruiting battles. This year it appears that Alabama and LSU could have some of the best recruiting battles we've seen in a while. Here's a closer look at the five top recruiting rivalries in the SEC.


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SEC recruiting mailbag

August, 23, 2013
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It’s time to dip into the SEC recruiting mailbag and answer your questions. Because of the amount of questions we’ve received, we won’t be able to get to all of them today -- but we encourage you to ask again next week by tweeting your questions to @DerekTysonESPN.

@Watup_Haun: Who's going to land Clifton Garrett (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield South)?

Derek Tyson: LSU appears to be the team to beat for the ESPN 300 linebacker and by a wide margin. Garrett will also take official visits to Ole Miss, Tennessee and Florida. LSU is shaping up to have a monster recruiting class, and right now I expect Garrett to be a part of it.

[+] EnlargeAdoree' Jackson
Jeff Barlis/ESPNESPN 300 athlete Adoree' Jackson likes Florida's football and track teams and met with both head coaches during his July visit.
@UltimateLemons: What's your gut tell you about Florida landing Adoree' [Jackson] and [Lorenzo] Carter? Do the Gators even contend realistically for Raekwon [McMillan]?

DT: Though Florida has made a big impression on the five-star prospects, Jackson and Carter, the Gators certainly have their work cut out for them. Florida's track program recently won a national championship, and track will be a key factor in Jackson's decision. USC, Michigan, Tennessee and LSU are a few other schools squarely in the mix for the talented athlete. Carter has Florida in the lead with Alabama and Georgia slightly trailing. At this point, Florida feels good about both prospects, but there is still a long way to go.

As for McMillan, the Gators are in his top five, but Ohio State is clearly the team to beat. Clemson and Georgia are also near the top of his list. He is talented enough for the Gators to continue to pursue him, but at this time, I don't think he will end up in Gainesville.

@UTSportsAction1: Do the SEC school's generally look for three-star athletes and above?

DT: If you ask coaches in college football if they only recruit players ranked three-stars or higher, you would probably get the same overwhelming response. "We don't look at stars," they would likely say, and probably in a stern voice. The truth is, a lot goes in to our recruiting rankings, and we don't just rate someone a four-star prospect for the fun of it. A lot of research goes in to every player we rank. I know for a fact that some college coaches do in fact look at rankings, but they wouldn't be doing their job if they didn't do their own evaluations. So to answer your question, I think college coaches use rankings as a general guide to see if they are missing out on certain prospects or to see which other schools have offered players, but they do their own evaluations and decide who they want to offer based on a number of factors.

Looking back at last year's SEC recruiting classes and excluding kickers, long snappers, punters and junior college, prep school and transfer players, SEC teams only signed seven players who were ranked two-star prospects or below:

2013: Alabama - 0, Auburn - 0, Arkansas - 1 (WR Drew Morgan), Florida - 0, Georgia - 0, LSU - 0, Kentucky - 2 (QB Reese Phillips and OT Justin Day), Mississippi State - 0, Ole Miss - 0, South Carolina - 1 (DE Kendal Vickers), Tennessee - 0, Missouri - 2 (OC Alec Abeln and DT DeQuinton Osborne), Texas A&M - 0, Vanderbilt - 1 (ATH C.J. Duncan)

The numbers speak for themselves. Though it's uncommon, the SEC does generally recruit prospects ranked three-star prospects or higher.

@madveal37: The SEC has widespread talent. What true freshmen are going to have a big impact in 2013?

DT: This is not really a recruiting question, but because I had an opportunity to see a lot of these players in high school and at all-star games over the last few years, I'll give my opinion on a few I think could make an early impact.

DE Robert Nkemdiche (Ole Miss): There is a reason he was the consensus No. 1-ranked player in the country. He will play early and often for the Rebels and should make a big impact.

WR Demarcus Robinson (Florida): Florida needs help at wide receiver, and Robinson has been a star in fall camp.

RB Alex Collins (Arkansas): Collins was a steal for the Razorbacks. His explosiveness will earn him carries early in his career.

DE Carl Lawson and DE Elijah Daniel (Auburn): With Auburn's top defensive lineman, Dee Ford, out for the opener, it should open the door for Lawson and Daniel to make their marks.

LB Reuben Foster (Alabama): It's not easy to get on the field early at Alabama, but head coach Nick Saban has specifically singled out Foster for having a strong camp. Look for him to see the field early.

@miketag98: Will UK lose a lot of recruits if [Mark] Stoops flops on the field? Like if they go 4-8?

DT: I really don't believe so. Obviously Kentucky hasn't had much success on the field over the past few years, and recruits understand that. What Stoops is selling to these recruits is an opportunity to help turn the football program around. The opportunity to play early is another key selling point. As long as Kentucky shows improvement and is at least competitive in most of their games, I don't see recruits bailing on this impressive recruiting class.

@bigjpl2: Does Georgia have a real shot at Elijah Hood (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Catholic)?

DT: Hood, the former Notre Dame commit, was considering North Carolina, Georgia and Virginia Tech before he originally committed to the Fighting Irish. Now that he has backed off his pledge, you would think Georgia might still be in the picture. However, Georgia has two stud running backs in Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley. The Bulldogs signed four-star running back A.J. Turman last year, and they have two ESPN 300 running backs (Sony Michel and Nick Chubb) committed this year. Chubb is very comparable to Hood as far as size, speed and build. At this point, Georgia doesn't have a pressing need at the position and could risk losing one of its other commits if the coaches put the full-court press on Hood. Though Hood might still show interest in Georgia, in my opinion, I don't believe he will end up in Athens.

@BlakeBoswell1: What are the odds [Leonard] Fournette stays in LA?

In my opinion, the odds are in LSU's favor to land Fournette -- but not by much. Alabama is certainly putting up a big fight. In fact, Fournette was in Tuscaloosa last weekend with Cameron Robinson and Laurence Jones to watch the Crimson Tide scrimmage. I think this will be a battle to the end, but Alabama has a lot of depth at running back, and LSU's proximity to home gives the Tigers the slight advantage.

Carl Lawson makes it official to Auburn 

February, 6, 2013
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Defensive end Carl Lawson (Alpharetta, Ga./Milton), the No. 2 overall prospect in the ESPN 150, signed with Auburn, as expected, on Wednesday in a ceremony at his high school. Lawson was an early pledge to the Tigers but wavered in his commitment in recent months. He reaffirmed the pledge shortly before signing day.

"I committed to Auburn the school, not the coaching staff," Lawson said Wednesday in an interview on ESPNU.

-- Mitch Sherman

What is the impact of Lawson’s decision?

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Ole Miss RB commit flips to Auburn 

February, 3, 2013
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AUBURN, Ala. -- Auburn University has been looking for more help at the running back position in 2013, and the Tigers added a key piece this weekend.


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Carl Lawson makes final decision 

February, 3, 2013
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Following the dismissal of Auburn head coach Gene Chizik in November, five-star defensive end Carl Lawson (Milton, Ga./Milton) decided he needed to reevaluate his options. He took an unofficial visit to Clemson the weekend of Chizik's firing, and followed it up with official visits to Clemson and Tennessee before his final official to Auburn this weekend.

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NSD TV announcement schedule

January, 31, 2013
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National signing day is just around the corner on Feb. 6. That day, a number of the nation’s top football recruits will announce their college destinations and 18 ESPN 300 prospects are scheduled to do so on ESPNU.

Below is the full schedule of announcements on ESPNU, which kicks off with the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect, Robert Nkemdiche, making his long-awaited decision at 7:30 a.m. ET.

Note: All times are Eastern

Friendship could be Vols' Lawson opening 

January, 30, 2013
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Tennessee might have a secret weapon in the race to land five-star defensive end Carl Lawson.


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Three remain for DE Carl Lawson 

January, 29, 2013
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ALPHARETTA, GA -- No. 2 prospect Carl Lawson (Alpharetta, Ga./Milton) has been committed to Auburn since March 24, 2011. There is a good chance he will remain part of the Tigers’ future when it comes time to send in his letter of intent next Wednesday on signing day.

But changes to the coaching staff at Auburn opened the door for two other programs to get the five-star defensive lineman on campus for official visits earlier this month, and they should be considered contenders to land the 6-foot-3, 252-pound prospect.


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Offers rising for Adeosun, sleeper OL 

January, 24, 2013
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During an interview with George Adeosun (Alpharetta, Ga./Alpharetta), a funny thing happened. It started out like any other, with the 6-foot-5, 300-pound offensive lineman giving his thoughts on his first two BCS offers -- Virginia and Oklahoma.

“Oklahoma is notable for its alumni association, and Virginia is well known for its academics,” Adeosun said.

But toward the end of his answer, a familiar sound occurred as a tweet was sent out. It was from his coach.


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Could Vols add No. 2 prospect Lawson? 

January, 22, 2013
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The battle for No. 1 prospect Robert Nkemdiche (Loganville, Ga./Grayson) has been well documented, but less than 50 miles away, programs have also been fighting it out for the No. 2 prospect in the country, defensive end Carl Lawson (Alpharetta, Ga./Milton).


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Dabo Swinney makes push for Adams 

January, 14, 2013
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ESPN 150 prospect Montravius Adams (Vienna, Ga./Dooly Co.) took his second official visit last weekend, traveling to Clemson. The 6-foot-3, 300-pound defensive lineman was first targeted by the Tigers more than 18 months ago, and they are considered one of the major contenders to get Adams as national signing day approaches.

Adams spoke well of his latest trip.


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Clemson gets 5-star DE back on campus 

January, 13, 2013
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Clemson was the last program to get the nation's No. 2 prospect on campus in December, and the Tigers were the first to get Carl Lawson (Alpharetta, Ga./Milton) on an official visit in 2013. That could bode well for the program’s chances of pulling in the five-star defensive end on signing day.


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First official set for five-star DE 

January, 8, 2013
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Carl Lawson (Alpharetta, Ga./Milton), the No. 2 prospect in the country, has taken one trip in the last two months, an unofficial visit to Clemson back in November on the weekend that Auburn head coach Gene Chizik was fired. The 6-foot-2, 251-pound defensive end is set to take his first official visit this weekend.

"I set an official to Clemson," Lawson said. "I am interested and excited about visiting such a wonderful program such as Clemson."

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Big, bruising Ogundeko a boost for Tigers 

January, 4, 2013
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Losing No. 1 prospect Robert Nkemdiche (Loganville, Ga./Grayson) last fall was a huge blow to Clemson’s recruiting efforts, and the decommitment of ESPN 150 defensive end prospect Elijah Daniel (Avon, Ind./Avon) a few weeks later furthered a huge void in the Tiger’s 2013 class, adding even more urgency for Clemson to reel in an elite pass-rusher.

[+] EnlargeEbenezer Ogundeko
Miller Safrit/ESPN.comFour-star Ebenezer Ogundeko could end up at defensive end for Clemson, or outside linebacker.
On Friday the Tigers took a big step in that direction by adding Under Armour All-American Ebenezer Ogundeko (Brooklyn, N.Y./Thomas Jefferson), the No. 10 defensive end prospect in the country. In the 6-foot-3, 230-pound prospect, Clemson is getting a prospect with a very muscular frame, who could project to defensive end or possibly outside linebacker in college.

Tigers coach Dabo Swinney is also getting a productive high school player in Ogundeko, as the top-rated prospect in New York racked up 154 tackles and 28 sacks over his junior and senior seasons.

By adding the No. 112 prospect in the country, Clemson can now shift its focus to trying to replace Nkemdiche with No. 2 prospect Carl Lawson (Alpharetta, Ga./Milton), who last visited Clemson in November. Lawson remains committed to Auburn, but programs like Clemson and Ole Miss should get official visits from the five-star defensive end this month.

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