Charlotte (N.C.) Christian defensive back Desmond Lawrence is hearing from his fair share of colleges and has already collected six offers on the recruiting trail. The 6-foot, 180-pounder is an impressive athlete who contributed on both sides of the ball for his team as a junior.
"Last year, individual-wise, I think I was one of the key players on the team," he said. "We had many other key players, but I felt like I contributed on the offensive and defensive side.
"I had somewhere around 850 rushing yards, I'm not sure on how many carries. I had three interceptions, five pass break-ups and 68 tackles so it was a pretty good season."
Although Lawrence has made his presence felt on offense this past fall, he knows that his future is on the other side of the ball.
"I prefer defense, that's where I'm being recruited at," Lawrence said. "I like being able to guard a receiver or come up and make a big hit, it's the best of both worlds. I have a lot of upside, I'm 6-foot, 6-1, so I can guard the smaller, quicker receivers, as well as coming up to make tackles; I'm not afraid to hit. Being physical is a true component of my game."
North Carolina, South Carolina, NC State, Virginia, Duke and Kentucky have tendered offers so far to the youngster. Florida, Maryland and Clemson are also in contact.
"Right now, it's between South Carolina, Duke and North Carolina that is recruiting me the hardest," he said.
Lawrence noted that he grew up as a Miami fan before switching his allegiances to Virginia Tech because of their defensive prowess.
"I haven't heard from Virginia Tech, but it doesn't really matter," he said. "I'd love for them to have some interest in me, but whatever happens, happens. It would always be good to have other schools take a look at me, but I'm not really pressing for any more right now."
Lawrence did attend a junior day at NC State this past weekend and offensive line coach Jim Bridge is leading the charge for the Wolfpack.
"Coach Bridge has a sense of humor," Lawrence said. "When he came and offered me, he was really laid back, really cool and he told me what they would use me as if I were to go to NC State.
"I think they're an up-and-coming program. Most people know them for their basketball program and from when Russell Wilson was there, but I think they're sprouting into the spotlight and they could be one of the top ACC football teams, too."
This early in the process, Lawrence does not claim a favorite, but he does appreciate the six schools who have extended offers already.
"I have no favorites right now," he said. "All the schools that have offered me - I haven't really seen Kentucky, but all of the other ones that have offered - are all good programs, all would give me good educations and those are the things I'm looking into."
One of the most appealing aspects of Lawrence for colleges is his versatility on the defensive side of the ball. He started off as a safety before switching to cornerback as a freshman, at the request of Catholic coach Eugene Robinson, a former NFL standout who helped the Green Bay Packers win Super Bowl XXXI. Robinson should know best, though, when it comes to defensive backs - he was a two-time Pro Bowl selection at safety and recorded 57 career interceptions.
"I played safety in eighth grade then my coach told me, 'you just seem like a natural corner,'" Lawrence remembered. "I converted to cornerback but, this year, I had to go back to safety to get some action because teams would just run or throw to the other side from what I was on. Being a safety does allow me to make plays, but I would like to play cornerback."
Lawrence is taking full advantage of picking his coach's brain and learning everything he can about being a successful defensive back.
"He teaches me a lot of the little things, like how to run with the receiver and slow their path down, how to get away with certain things," he said. "Just having him is a tremendous help and I love working with my coach."
Lawrence noted that he would like to make it to a junior day at Maryland and Virginia. He said that he's already seen North Carolina, South Carolina and Duke, in addition to NC State. His goal in the next few months is to see the schools that he hasn't been to yet because he doesn't intend to drag the recruiting process out longer than he needs to.
"I'm probably going to wait it out a little bit, but I'm going to make a decision sometime during football season next year," he stated. "I know I'm not going to wait all the way until signing day, my decision will definitely be made during football season next year."
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