AUBURN, Ala. — Carl Lawson has been on the Auburn campus for nearly three years.
He’s earned an All-SEC honor, emerged as an NFL prospect and drawn the highest of praise from his coaches.
But there’s still one thing the defensive end hasn’t done: play in an A-Day game. He’ll get his chance Saturday inside Jordan-Hare Stadium.
“My first A-Day, it will be real fun for me,” Lawson said. “I can’t wait for it.”
Injuries have sidelined Lawson in each of the last two A-Day scrimmages. He injured his knee in the spring of 2014, underwent surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament and sat out the entire fall. Coaches exercised caution as he recovered and he sat out the 2015 A-Day scrimmage as well.
“It tripped me out,” Lawson said. “I can’t get one? But this year.”
Now, with NFL scouts drooling about the possibilities of the monster defensive end playing a full season with a clean bill of health for the first time since 2013, Lawson’s journey begins Saturday (3 p.m. CT, SEC Network) inside Jordan-Hare Stadium.
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Lawson earned freshman All-America honors from two publications during his freshman season after recording 7.5 tackles for loss, including two sacks against Ole Miss. Injuries sidelined him for most of the next two years, however, and he missed six-plus games and was not fully healed when he returned from a hip injury last season.
Despite the injury, plenty of NFL scouts took notice of his performance in the season opener against Louisville. He weighed whether to jump to the NFL Draft and opted to stay in school in January. Meanwhile, two Ole Miss offensive linemen called him the toughest match-up in the SEC at the NFL Combine in February.
The question is whether coaches allow Lawson play for an extended period of time in the scrimmage, especially with quarterbacks wearing non-contact jerseys effectively neutering the pass rush.
“I just think you’re going to see who Carl Lawson is, which is a great player, pass rusher and run stopper,” senior defensive tackle Montravius Adams said. “I just think you’re going to see the complete package.”