Auburn recruiting has been experiencing somewhat of a revival in the last few weeks, but the latest news regarding 5-star defensive end Carl Lawson could undo all of that positive momentum in a hurry.
Lawson has been committed to Auburn since March of 2012, and he's been one of the marquee recruits in Auburn's 2013 class. His commitment has been on somewhat of a roller-coaster ride as of late, though—especially after Gene Chizik and his staff were fired—and this appears to be the low point, at least from Auburn's perspective.
Kipp Adams of ESPN.com is reporting that Lawson will take an official visit to Clemson:
Carl Lawson (Alpharetta, Ga./Milton), the No. 2 prospect in the country, has taken one trip in the last two months, an unofficial visit to Clemson back in November on the weekend that Auburn head coach Gene Chizik was fired. The 6-foot-2, 251-pound defensive end is set to take his first official visit this weekend.
"I set an official to Clemson," Lawson said. "I am interested and excited about visiting such a wonderful program such as Clemson."
This is potentially very bad news for Auburn recruiting. Sure, Clemson isn't an SEC school, and it may not even be the best program in the ACC (right now it isn't), but Dabo Swinney is known as a very good and personable recruiter, and the Clemson football program overall is very impressive.
The Clemson Tigers have a great fanbase, they boast a very good football atmosphere and they have a good history of producing quality, NFL-caliber defensive ends.
Andre Branch, Da'Quan Bowers, Ricky Sapp, Phillip Merling and Gaines Adams are all defensive ends that Clemson has sent to the NFL in recent memory.
There's a lot to like about Clemson if you're an elite defensive end, and Lawson certainly fits the description. He's 6'3'', 245 pounds and runs a 4.70 40 (according to 247Sports). He's also the No. 1 ranked weak-side defensive end in the country, according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings.
It's worth noting that Michael Carvell of ajc.com has a "feeling" that Lawson could commit to Clemson during the visit:
I would not be surprised to see Carl Lawson commit to Clemson this wkd. No inside info, just a feeling. Carl is tired of recruiting hoopla.— Michael Carvell (@RecruitingAJC) January 9, 2013
I feel the need to reiterate that Carvell is just speculating and that he clearly stated that he has no inside information, but he is a highly respected analyst in the college football recruiting world, so it's an interesting thought nonetheless.
Either way you look at it, this isn't good for Auburn.
Clemson has landed an elite defensive end recruit before—No. 1 overall recruit Robert Nkemdiche—and now that the Tigers have a second chance at a superstar recruit, I fully expect they will bring their A-game in regards to Lawson's official visit.
If I were Gus Malzahn—or any member of Auburn's coaching staff—I would be afraid of this Clemson visit.
Everything has been leading up to this, and Clemson looks to be set up in great position to flip Lawson from one Tigers program to the other.