Feb. 6, 2013
Signing Day Central
Fallen Coach Inspired Lawson to Succeed
Carl Lawson is best known as a terror on the football field, a quick and powerful pass rusher who couldn’t be blocked at Milton (Ga.) High School.
It’s widely known that his father, Carl Lawson Sr., is a major influence in his life who helped guide his widely touted son to the Plains. What few people outside the Atlanta suburb know is how much another man close to the nation’s No. 2 overall prospect impacted his football career—and his life.
Known as the “Big Show” around Milton High, Mike Scott was a 36-year old father of two who coached the offensive line. Scott and Lawson frequently jawed at each other during practice, mainly because Lawson ended up in the backfield wreaking havoc on nearly every snap.
“He would cuss at me everyday because I would beat his linemen, but we would have fun going at it,” Lawson said. “He was such an influence on me because of how hard he worked and how much he loved football.”
Lawson and his teammates were devastated early in the 2012 football season when Scott was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. By December, he was gone.
“We were close,” Lawson said. “When he died, it really hurt me. It taught me that no matter who you are, you are not invincible.”
Lawson said he and his teammates sobbed at their fallen coach’s funeral.
“It was amazing to see all of the lives that he touched by all the people that were there,” Lawson said. “It was crazy because there were so many people there. I have never cried that much in my life.”
Scott was also the strength and conditioning coach at Milton. He and Lawson got to know each other well in the weight room, where Lawson grew from a 185-pound freshman into a feared 250 pound defensive lineman who opponents, even at star-studded all-star games, simply couldn’t block.
Lawson credits Scott and his father for instilling in him a burning passion for football.
“There is nothing that I am as passionate about as football,” Lawson said. “Everything I do revolves around football. When I’m not thinking about football, I’m training. When I’m not training, I’m sleeping. When I’m sleeping, I dream about football.”
And what do those dreams look like?
“I dream about rushing the passer. Sometimes I guess you could call it a nightmare. I just aspire to the best I can possibly be.”
Lawson is humble about his goals for his freshman year at Auburn.
“I have thought about this a lot,” he said. “I want to have the highest goals you can possibly have, but I am just trying to work to be able to get in the rotation to try to play. I know that these are grown men on this field, and there are a lot of guys that have been here. I know Coach (Rodney) Garner and everybody will work with me everyday just so I can get better. That’s really my first goal.”
Lawson said he never wavered in his commitment to Auburn, despite numerous stories from recruiting analysts trying to guess where he would sign. It didn’t take Coach Gus Malzahn long to convince Lawson that he had a plan to put Auburn back on top.
“The thing I like the most about Coach Malzahn is the confidence that he has that everything he wants to do at Auburn will come to fruition,” Lawson said. “He has a plan and a process that will take the program where it needs to go. He knows what he wants to get done and how he wants to do it. That’s what impressed me the most.”