Will 5-star defensive end Carl Lawson be the next elite recruit to decommit from Auburn?
For now, Lawson is still committed, but he's recently officially visited Clemson, and now there's reportedly another program that's making a strong push for him on the recruiting trail. Lawson just took an official visit to Tennessee, and it was one that reportedly went very well.
Kipp Adams of ESPN.com quotes Lawson's father, Carl Lawson Sr., on the visit:
“The Tennessee visit was great and the entire family enjoyed it,” Lawson Sr. said. “Tennessee has a lot of history. A lot of people do not know that Peyton Manning is Carl’s all-time favorite player. He prides himself on being Peyton Manning’s biggest fan, so being at Tennessee was a big thrill for him.”
Lawson is still very much committed to Auburn, but Adams also reports that he's keeping his options open via these visits:
Lawson has said repeatedly since head coach Gene Chizik was let go in November that he remains committed to Auburn, only adding that his visits are a chance for him to re-evaluate his options. His father expounded on the possibility that Lawson ends up somewhere other than Auburn.
“Tennessee has a pretty good chance with Carl,” Lawson Sr. said. “He has always been committed to Auburn though, so someone has to win him over and it is a process that is still ongoing. They got a visit and anyone that gets a visit has a chance.”
The good news for the Tigers is that they are scheduled to receive an official visit from Lawson on February first, and for all intents and purposes that is the most important visit of them all. Gus Malzahn and his staff will have the opportunity to get the last word in with the elite recruit, and that final impression could end up being the most significant.
It's going to come down to Auburn pitching Lawson on being "the guy" for their program, especially since he's the one remaining 5-star Auburn recruit that has remained true to his commitment.
With the major loss of momentum that the Tigers have experienced since losing 5-star inside linebacker Reuben Foster and recently 4-star defensive end/tackle Dee Liner, it's almost a statement of confidence in itself that Lawson hasn't bailed from Auburn just yet.
Really all he's doing is exploring his other options, and that's the smart thing to do.
The fact that he's still committed to Auburn, even after visits to Clemson and Tennessee, is a great sign for the Tigers. When you consider that Lawson's final visit will be to Auburn, the Tigers still look to be in good shape in regards to being able to hold on to his commitment.
If there's a program that can get him to sway, it looks like Tennessee will be the main option. This visit reportedly went great, the coaching staff made a good impression and Lawson is close with Tennessee wide receiver commitment Ryan Jenkins, all per Adams' report.
When Liner decommitted, I was almost certain that Lawson would be the next out of the door, but Auburn has weathered that storm and for now, the Tigers have weathered a very good official by Tennessee.
As I type this, Lawson is still committed.
As you're reading this, I have a very good feeling that Lawson will still be committed to Auburn—even if you're reading these words on national signing day (Feb. 6).