The buzz surrounding Auburn defensive lineman Carl Lawson’s comeback might be getting louder, but the sophomore isn’t hearing any of it.
Defensive coordinator Will Muschamp has tossed around words like “unblockable” in describing Lawson’s training camp performance a year removed from tearing his ACL.
On Wednesday, the 6-foot-2, 257-pounder was added to the Lombardi Award Watch list, and voted to the coaches All-SEC third team.
Lawson is ignoring the praise, and the preseason accolades, as he prepares for the Tigers’ opener on Sept. 5 against Louisville at the Georgia Dome.
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“I don't really care about any of stuff because I haven't played a game in a year and I haven't proven anything,” Lawson said. “When I get praised for doing stuff on the field, finally that's when I'll feel good about that stuff. Other than that, I just need to get better. Every mistake I do and everything I do on the field I see as a chance to get better. I don't take any praise from anything.”
Lawson kept on message addressing reporters Tuesday night after practice. He declined to comment about the strength of Louisville’s offensive line, or what he expects from the Cardinals’ quarterbacks.
The seriousness of his expression revealed a player singularly focused on being an impact player this season.
“If you want to be a good player that's what you've got to do,” Lawson said. “And that's what I'm trying to do. I want to be a good player.”
Lawson’s career trajectory might reach higher than that if he can stay healthy.
Coming out of high school, Lawson was ranked as an Under Armour All-American, and ranked as a top 10 overall prospect by all the major recruiting services (Rivals, 247 Sports and Scout).
He had more than 40 sacks in his high school career at Milton High School, and picked up right where he left off when he stepped onto campus at Auburn bursting onto the scene with 20 tackles, 7.5 for a loss and four sacks.
Training camp this month is the first time since his injury that Lawson has practiced with no limitations. Auburn’s coaching staff was cautious with the lineman during spring practice, and even held him out of the team’s spring game.
He’s had no such restrictions in training camp, and is ready to let loose.
“I feel great,” Lawson said, smiling. “I'm running around and every day is a blessing to get out there because you never know when you last play is.”