Carl Lawson, the highly coveted 5-star defensive end, has officially committed to play for the Auburn Tigers in 2013 as of Sunday.
UPDATE: Wednesday, Feb. 6, at 9:09 a.m. ET by Brandon Galvin
Carl Lawson is officially an Auburn Tiger, Opelika-Auburn News' Ryan Wood explains.
Rolling in now. Carl Lawson has sent in his signed LOI, much to @coachgusmalzahn's excitement. Also, 4-star guard Deon Mix has signed w/ AU.— Ryan Wood (@AUBlog) February 6, 2013
Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn also welcomed Lawson to the family:
BOOM! This is a big one! Welcome to the AU Family, Carl Lawson #AUNLI— Coach Gus Malzahn (@CoachGusMalzahn) February 6, 2013
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Opelika-Auburn News beat writer Ryan Wood originally reported last Sunday on Twitter that Lawson had reaffirmed his commitment to Auburn:
As Wood notes, this is a huge deal for the Auburn program, which is in flux with Gus Malzahn taking over the reins as head coach for the fired Gene Chizik. The impact of former Georgia recruiter and defensive line coach Rodney Garner as recruiting coordinator apparently paid off in this instance.
Tennessee and Clemson were both on Lawson's short list, but he ultimately chose the Tigers.
Lawson actually "committed to Auburn last March," according to AL.com's Charles Goldberg. Goldberg writes, "Tennessee and Clemson had hoped to flip him, but apparently failed. Scout had listed him as a 'soft verbal' leading up to his announcement today."
A supreme standout at Milton High School in Alpharetta, Ga., Lawson is the No. 1 weakside defensive end prospect in the country and 21st overall, according to the composite rankings provided by 247Sports.com.
At 6'3" and 245 pounds with 4.7 speed in the 40-yard dash, Lawson is a formidable force against both the run and the pass.
There are few things he can't do. He not only has incredible power, but he also has finesse to his game, exploding past would-be blockers and displaying a wonderful ability to properly pursue opposing ball-carriers.
His combination of size and speed should translate to him playing right away, especially for Auburn's struggling squad that is coming off of a tumultuous 3-9 campaign that included an 0-8 record in the Southeastern Conference.
During his senior season at Milton, Lawson racked up a whopping 76 tackles, including 44 for loss and 27 sacks. He also recently played in the 2013 Under Armour All-American Bowl game featuring the nation's best prospects.