CLEMSON—It did not take Clemson rising sophomore defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence long to makehis presence known as one of the best defenders in the nation last season.
The 340-pound, 6-foot-5 Lawrence was named a Freshman All-American by ESPN and USA Today, wasnamed the ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year (media, coaches), the Defensive Rookie of the Year by ProFootball Focus and was a member of the All-ACC Academic Team.
However, after winning a national championship, amongst all of the other honors, one would think that Lawrence would be sitting pretty heading into his sophomore campaign. But the scary thing for opposing offenses is his goal is to be even better this season.
“I’m just trying to improve with the simple things like my technique and getting to know my playbook alittle better,” Lawrence said. “I’m just trying to know where I can go on diffenent types of schemes and things like that.”
If Lawrence, and the Clemson team as a whole, are going to climb the mountain of college football and have any hopes of planting their flag at the top, as they did last year, there is an understanding of that they all have to get better—even if it is only a little bit at a time.
“I have to learn how to take care of my body a little better,” Lawrence said. “I have built a great
relationship with all the guys just staying late after practice to watch film. We are doing the little things (as a team) to get a little better.”
Even though he is only a rising sophomore, the NFL has already taken notice of the size and speed and talent possessed by the defensive lineman, who will remain at Clemson for at least two more seasons due to NCAA and NFL draft eligibility rules.
At the NFL Combine, surprisingly, it was Lawrence’s name that was mentioned while scouts, general managers and head coaches were supposed to be watching the 2017 draft class.
“Had an NFL coach tell me last night: ‘Mark it down now. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 draft is going to be (#Clemson DT) Dexter Lawrence,’” college football reporter Bruce Feldman tweeted.
But even with those accolades already coming for the rising sophomore, he understands that he has a long way to go before he is ready to test his game against the best of the best in the NFL.
“It doesn’t matter now, I’m just a freshman,” Lawrence said. “I have a lot of technique that I need to work on.”
And not to mention he has another goal—winning a second consecutive national title.
“I’m trying to go two for two. I want another national title,” Lawrence said. “I want to be the first player to ever win a national championship every year that he played. That’s all I care about—getting back there and winning another. That’s what I’m focused on, and that’s what our team is going to be focused on.”