AUBURN, Ala. — While several Auburn football players returned to the practice field Wednesday from injuries, senior defensive tackle Devaroe Lawrence wasn’t out there.
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn announced Wednesday that Lawrence underwent an undisclosed surgery. He will not play in the Sugar Bowl, effectively ending his college career.
“Devaroe had surgery early in week, and he will be out,” Malzahn said. “Devaroe being a senior, that was a very tough blow. He’s an outstanding young man. He did a very good job for us this year. I really feel bad for him.”
Lawrence recorded 13 tackles during his senior season, including 3 tackles for loss. He had a sack and a quarterback hurry as a backup defensive tackle behind fellow senior Montravius Adams and sophomore Dontavius Russell.
The South Carolina native transferred to Auburn in 2014 from Georgia Military College with three years of eligibility. Lawrence recorded a tackle for loss against Samford in his debut season and followed it up with 31 tackles in 2015.
Lawrence fell down in the rotation at defensive tackle after the breakout performances of true freshman Derrick Brown and redshirt freshman Andrew Williams. But defensive coordinator Kevin Steele highlighted Lawrence’s late-season push last month.
“It’s a joke, but Devaroe is a late-fall guy because it’s cooler,” Steele said. “Sometimes those big guys, they like the air conditioning … it’s not a true thing, but that’s the joke with Devaroe. So it’s getting cooler, and he’s coming on.”
The highlight of Lawrence’s season came against Ole Miss, when he made a goal-line stand on fourth down to keep the high-scoring Rebels out of the end zone. The visiting Tigers went on to win, 40-29.
“I mean, he disrupted that thing, made it change direction twice because he was 3 yards in the backfield with his man,” Steele said. “He got the fourth-down stop and the tackle for a loss … those guys did some good things.”