April 13, 2014
Auburn's Carl Lawson meets Alabama offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio after Auburn's victory in the Iron Bowl last season (USA Today photo)
By Phillip Marshall
AUBURN, Ala. - Defensive end Carl Lawson was a prized Auburn signee in 2013, a 5-star prospect who could have taken his pick of dozens of schools. He made an iconic play when he stopped Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon cold on fourth-and-one late in last season's Iron Bowl.
But Lawson dismisses talk of recruiting rankings and big plays in games gone by. As he nears the end of his first Auburn spring practice, his focus is on the here and now.
"None of that matters," Lawson said. "I even said that coming out of high school. There are a lot of guys you see over the years that are 5-star this and 5-star that and then disappear. I'm not trying to be one of those guys."
No one at Auburn is concerned about that happening.
Lawson says he wasn't happy with his performance as a true freshman, but his four sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss were second only to All-Southeastern Conference defensive end Dee Ford as the Tigers won the league championship and came within seconds of the national championship.
With two practices left before Saturday's annual A-Day intrasquad game, Lawson says he needs to improve every facet of his game.
"Pretty much everything," Lawson said. "There's not one thing that stands out. I need to work on everything to become a successful player."
Defensive line coach Rodney Garner says Lawson has improved, but he also agrees more is needed.
"He's improved," Garner said. "He's very conscientious. He comes to work every day. He wants to be good, and he can be good. He is good now, but he can be a lot better."
With five defensive linemen either out or limited because of injuries, there has been little rest for the healthy ones during spring practice. But Lawson has no complaints.
"Every day is a blessing," Lawson said. "I'm glad I get a chance to come out and work. I feel like we are all stepping up and developing together. No one person stands out to me. I just think we are all doing what we can to get better together."
The Tigers will return to the field Tuesday. They will work again Thursday and finish spring practice on Saturday when the A-Day game kicks off at 2 p.m.
Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow Marshall on Twitter: