Shaq Lawson is ready to be the man

by - Correspondent -
Shaq Lawson works on his pass rush in practice
Shaq Lawson works on his pass rush in practice

CLEMSON – Shaq Lawson Shaq Lawson
So. Defensive End
#90 6-3, 269
Central, SC

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is ready to be the man.

The junior defensive end spent his first two seasons playing the role of backup to Vic BeasleyVic Beasley
Defensive End (2010 - 2014)
#3 6-2, 236
Adairsville, GA

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and Corey CrawfordCorey Crawford
Defensive End (2011 - 2014)
#93 6-5, 275
Columbus, GA

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, but with those two gone to the NFL, Lawson’s turn to make a name for himself is now.

Lawson – who spent a year in prep school and could have departed early for the NFL – chose to return to Clemson and prove that he can be the dominant defensive end that coaches and fans have grown accustomed to.

“Now I'm just going to make the most of my time this year and make the most of my opportunities,” Lawson told the media during a recent spring practice interview. “I don't want to be compared to Vic. Vic was a great player. I just want to be my own player. I just want to be my own name, Shaq Lawson.”

In 2014, Lawson accounted for 44 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks in just 295 snaps, but with an increased responsibility in 2015, he said he knew he needed to take his game to another level, beginning with cutting his weight from 280 pounds to 270 and his body fat from 20-percent to 17-percent.

“I had to change my eating habits and that was the main part that I focused on this spring,” Lawson said.” Another main focus for him was to become a better pass rusher. Lawson stated that he’d like to get to the quarterback more and that he had to change his game a little bit more, just from a pass rusher stand point. “My twitch has gotten faster, my get off is much quicker off the ball. I can recognize a pass a lot quicker than I used to.”

Many see Lawson as more of a run stopper, but he said that he has several pass rush moves in his repertoire.

“I just have three great moves that I can use at any time. It just all depends on what type [of play] they'll give me,” he said.

Not only is Lawson trying to fill the on the field production vacated by Beasley, Crawford and Tavaris BarnesTavaris Barnes
Defensive End (2010 - 2014)
#9 6-3, 275
Jacksonville, FL

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, but he is also trying to become a team leader.

“I just have to continue to come in everyday and just work hard,” he said. “Prepare like I did last year, prepare like I was a starter. I just have to lead by example, on and off the field. If I lead by example, the younger players will always look up to me.”

Despite the losses from last year’s defense, Lawson said he doesn’t expect a drop off as the younger players continue to work hard and improve.

“We got Ebo ( Ebenezer OgundekoEbenezer Ogundeko
RS So. Defensive End
#1 6-3, 250
Brooklyn, NY

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) that is going to step up. Martin AikenMartin Aiken
RS Jr. Defensive End
#53 6-2, 255
Smoaks, SC

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is going to step up for us. It is going to be a big spring for him,” he said. “We [Lawson and freshman Albert HugginsAlbert Huggins
Fr. Defensive Line
#67 6-3, 280
Orangeburg, SC

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] have the same personality and [he's] just like my little brother right now. He looks up to me.”

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