Billed as a ‘just add water’ type of defender coming out of high school, Auburn defensive end Carl Lawson was a no-doubt impact player as a true freshman. It wasn’t a matter of if he would make an impact, it was just a matter of when.
Carl Lawson recorded six tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and two sacks agains Ole Miss.
On Saturday, lined up against an SEC West foe and one of the nation’s most explosive offenses, Lawson had his freshman breakout performance. That performance has earned him the honor of 247Sports National True Freshman of the Week.
Lawson’s stat line consisted of six tackles, two sacks, and 3.5 tackles for loss. That defensive effort was instrumental in limiting Ole Miss to 22 points in a 30-22 Auburn victory. His two sacks didn’t come in mop up duty either. His first halted an Ole Miss drive at the end of the first half. His second came on fourth down at the end of the game, halting the Rebels’ comeback effort. Lawson was also instrumental in thwarting Hugh Freeze’s tricky read option offense.
Those numbers against Ole Miss more than doubled Lawson’s season-to-date output. Prior to Saturday, Lawson had compiled only four tackles and a pair of quarterback hurries. With his arrival now official, Lawson’s numbers should begin to take off.
Consider the recruiting industry less than surprised at Lawson’s Saturday arrival. He was ranked by 247Sports as the nation’s No. 1 weakside defensive end and the 24th best prospect in the country regardless of position. The 247Composite rankings, generated by a proprietary formula weighing all the major recruiting sites, ranked Lawson at a virtually identical spot, also valuing him as the No. 1 weakside defensive end in the country and No. 21 overall.
Lawson signed with Auburn after a drama-filled recruitment that saw him waver significantly over his longtime commitment amid Auburn coaching changes. Clemson and Tennessee both threatened to steal Lawson late in the process following official visits to each but he ultimately stuck with the Tigers thanks in part to the efforts of new defensive line coach Rodney Garner.
Justin Goodwin – In an overtime win over SMU, Goodwin rushed for 149 yards and two scores on 24 carries for Rutgers. He also had two receptions for 73 yards and another TD and his overtime score was the game-winner.
Chris Jones – The No. 2 overall player in the country per 247Sports in the 2013 class had his arrival on Saturday as he was a mainstay in the backfield against LSU, notching a sack and two tackles for loss.
Myles Jack – Despite his freshman status, Jack spearheaded the UCLA defense during a Thursday night win over Utah, accounting for six tackles two pass breakups and a game-sealing interception.
Jaylon Smith – A freshman starter for Notre Dame and former five-star, Smith had nine tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss a forced fumble and a pass breakup in a huge neutral-site win over Arizona State.
Christian Hackenberg – In a losing effort against Indiana, Hackenberg threw for 340 yards and three touchdowns on 30-of-55 passing for Penn State.
Jared Goff – Though it was in a loss to Washington State, Cal’s Goff threw for over 500 yards and two touchdowns on 59 pass attempts.