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Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Friendship could be Vols' Lawson opening

By Dave Hooker

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

It's Ryan Jenkins. Jenkins and Lawson have been good friends since they played together for Alpharetta (Ga.) Milton. They stayed in touch after Jenkins transferred to Marietta (Ga.) Lassiter. Jenkins committed to Tennessee in January.

"Me and Carl are real good buddies," the four-star wide receiver said.

Just what effect the relationship will have on Lawson's recruitment remains to be seen. Of course, the two prospects talk about recruiting, but it's not the sole topic of conversation.

"Sometimes," Jenkins said. "A lot of times I talk to him about recruiting. But we talk about other stuff, too."

Jenkins also isn't one to put a hard sell on Lawson, who is considering Tennessee, Auburn and Clemson. Lawson has been committed to Auburn since March 2012, but he has since evaluated his other two finalists since Auburn's coaching change following a 2-10 season. Of course, Jenkins would certainly like to see Lawson play his college football in Knoxville, Tenn.

"I do, but I just want him to go wherever he feels like he can ball and wherever he's happy," Jenkins said.

It's been impressive for Tennessee to get this far with Lawson after a coaching change of its own. While Jenkins certainly has some insight, he maintained he's doesn't know where his buddy will end up.

"I'm not sure," Jenkins said. "I'm hoping they will [get him]. But I have no idea."

Jenkins is Tennessee's second highest-rated commitment. He is ranked as the No. 47 receiver in the nation and the No. 31 prospect in Georgia. He was previously committed to Clemson. He showed no interest in Tennessee before former coach Derek Dooley was fired after three losing seasons and replaced by former Cincinnati coach Butch Jones.

Lawson is one of the 11 five-star prospects in the ESPN rankings. He is rated the No. 2 overall prospect in the country. Lawson will take his official visit to Auburn this weekend. He has already taken official visits to Tennessee and Clemson.