War Eagle Extra

Auburn DL Carl Lawson focused on Auburn not possible NFL future

Auburn defensive lineman Carl Lawson isn’t ready to talk about his future.

The fourth-year junior kept his answers short and to the point when asked about his postseason plans — has Auburn’s sack leader made a decision about entering the NFL draft?

“No, I've really been focused on Auburn,” Lawson said.

Does he have a timetable for making an announcement? Something coach Gus Malzahn said his star defender is planning to do in the “near future.”

“No,” Lawson said

Lawson was slightly more forthcoming discussing how defensive coordinator Kevin Steele and defensive line coach Rodney Garner have helped him prepare for a potential pro career.

Steele’s lengthy resume includes a three-year stint as the Carolina Panthers linebacker coach while Garner has helped mold a series of college talents — Richard Seymour, Marcus Stroud and most recently Dee Ford — into first round draft picks.

“They’re not coaching us just to be average college players, they are coaching us to be pros,” Lawson said. “He tells us to go about our business as being pros and have a permanent mindset. He doesn’t want to sit there and yell at you the whole time. Get your work done and take care of your body, little things like that.”

Garner has advised Lawson to “be a pro long before you are a pro” since the lineman arrived on the Plains as a highly touted prospect out of Milton High School.

“I’m telling you, since I was a freshman he’s literally been talking about what the expectations of a pro are,” Lawson said.

Lawson has also talked to former teammate Peyton Barber, who went undrafted with two years of eligibility left last year, about the decision. The two attended high school together before both coming to Auburn.

Barber described the process as “cutthroat” in those discussions.

Lawson will weigh the pros and cons including his deep connection to the “Auburn family” as the mid-January deadline for players to declare approaches.

The defensive lineman is widely expected to be a first-round pick if he comes out. The 6-foot-2, 253-pounder has largely answered concerns about his durability with a healthy campaign leading Auburn with nine sacks.

Michael Niziolek: 334-332-8572, @wareagleextra

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