Out of Wake Forest (NC), defensive tackle recruit Dexter Lawrence is an athletic freak. At the Charlotte (NC) Nike Opening Regional, Lawrence measured in at 6'4.5, 335 pounds and ran the 40-yard dash in 5.03 seconds. That big of a man moving at that speed looks out of place in a high school camp setting. After his performance, Lawrence was invited to the Nike Opening Finals, to be held later this summer in Beaverton, Oregon.
Lawrence is understandably rated as a five-star recruit by the 247Sports Composite rankings and holds more than 20 top offers. SB Nation spoke with Lawrence during the camp.
"The quickness is, coming off that line and going after it," Lawrence said when asked about his strengths.
It didn't take long for Lawrence to realize he was a major recruit, as offers began to pour in early in his sophomore year. But what was his team before he became a recruit?
"My childhood favorite team was the Gators. I kind of grew up around that area, and my granddad lives (in Ocala)and he's a Gators fan," Lawrence said.
Lawrence still likes the Gators, but is now taking a more businesslike approach to his recruiting with 17 (yes, seventeen) schools sticking out to him.
And while he doesn't seem to have any lean to a school at the moment, Lawrence knows what he wants in a school.
"If the school is family oriented, all the coaches are in it together and doing stuff every day. That's what my high school is like now," Lawrence said. "And somewhere I can play as a true freshman."
Lawrence named off a number of coaches with whom he has strong relationships, including John Lilly (Georgia), Ryan Nielsen (N.C. State), Gene Chizik (North Carolina), Robbie Caldwell (Clemson), Tosh Lupoi (Alabama), Greg Nord (Florida), Odell Haggins (Florida State, where Lawrence's cousin De'Andre Johnson plays QB) and Chris Wilson (USC), among others.
Lawrence is looking forward to getting to Clemson, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Alabama, Florida, Florida State and others this offseason. And he is considering taking official visits to Ohio State, Stanford, Tennessee, LSU and potentially others as well.
Lawrence's mom, however, would like him to stay closer to home.
"She wants me to stay close, maybe an in-state school," Lawrence said.
As for his potential major, Lawrence is interested in math or a career in coaching.
Bud's take: Sometimes recruits simply list off a ton of schools and proclaim they they do not have a leader because they want to avoid dealing with angry fans from other programs tweeting at them or college coaches asking why their school is not the leader. I did not get that sense with Lawrence. Despite potentially enrolling early, which would speed up the process, Lawrence seemed genuine in not having a leader or even a lead group. His process is really just beginning. That said, he is on the shy and quiet side, and in my experience, shy recruits rarely leave home. I'd be surprised if he left the Southeast for college. I'd pay special attention to both Florida schools due to chatter on the recruiting trail.