As we continue our march to kickoff, we take a look at the top 100 recruits to sign with Auburn of all-time*. The rankings are based on 247’s composite recruit rankings, which unfortunately only date back to 2000.
Lawson is a very energetic player on the football field. He plays with a high motor and he makes those around him better. One of his biggest strengths is his quickness off the ball. He comes off the ball low, he fires off the ball quickly, and he gets to the quarterback in a hurry. He also has very good strength and he plays at a good pad level. He is better as a push rusher at this time, but solid against the run. - Chad Simmons
Carl Lawson first committed to Auburn in March of 2012 when Gene Chizik was still running the show on the Plains. Then Chizik’s show burned to the ground and he was sent packing which left Lawson’s pledge to the Tigers in the firmly “soft” category. Lawson remained publicly committed to the Tigers but also made it clear he was going to evaluate all his options before making a final decision.
Over the coming months, a hotly contested recruitment took place as Clemson and Tennessee all took hard runs at Auburn’s 5* commit. The Tigers got the last shot at Lawson on the final weekend before National Signing Day. That weekend would prove to be one of the most successful official visit weekends in Auburn history as the Tigers had Lawson, Montravius Adams and Elijah Daniel all on campus. Just a few days later, all three would sign with the Tigers.
With plenty of returning veterans up front in the likes of Dee Ford, Gabe Wright and Nosa Eguae, Lawson would start his career as a backup. His coming out party came against Ole Miss later that season when he would terrorize Rebels’ QB Bo Wallace recording 6 tackles, 3.5 TFL and 2 sacks. It was clear this kid had a chance to be something special though he definitely needed to work on his celebrations.
But his most memorable moment that year would come in the Iron Bowl. A game most remembered Chris Davis’s 109 yard missed FG return but to even get to that point the Tigers had to come up with some huge stops against Alabama. None bigger than this one on 4th & 1 at Auburn’s 13 yard line.
After such a successful freshman debut and with Dee Ford’s departure to the NFL, it looked like Lawson was set for a dominant sophomore campaign. Unfortunately, Auburn’s top returning pass rusher would miss all of that season with a torn ACL. Injuries continued to plague the Georgia native in 2015. After a fast start against Louisville to open the season, Lawson would leave with a hip injury that would keep him sidelined for most of the year. He did return late but clearly wasn’t his usual explosive self only recording two half sacks over those final 6 games.
But in 2016 Auburn fans FINALLY got to see what a fully operational Carl Lawson could do. After only earning one sack over the first 3 games of the year, Lawson would catch fire, piling up 8.5 sacks over the next 7 weeks. On top of his 9.5 sacks, Lawson also record 24 quarterback hurries. He was unblockable at times in 2016.
Lawson elected to forego his senior season and head to the NFL. While many regarded him as a 1st round talent, injury concerns tanked his stock and Lawson fell all the way to the Cincinnati Bengals in the 4th round. That didn’t sit well with DBZ fan and he let the NFL see what happens when you make him mad.
Carl Lawson was fantastic as a rookie, far outperforming his draft slot. pic.twitter.com/Y0HhLVLwwN— PFF (@PFF) August 1, 2018
Sadly, the injury bug bit Lawson once again last season. Another torn ACL sidelined him for the year but he vowed to return bigger and better in 2019. Judging by his preseason debut last night, offenses should be very afraid.
Carl Lawson finally gets to see some game action. He and Hubbard crush Daniel Jones. pic.twitter.com/tO4X8Togw4— JG (@JoeGoodberry) August 23, 2019
Here’s to hoping for an injury free 2019 season! War Eagle!