May 20, 2013

Incoming Freshman Report: Desmond Lawrence

Now that the recruiting process has ended, it's easier for 2013 UNC commit Desmond Lawrence to sit back and reflect on the journey that led him to Chapel Hill.

If you could physically see the fullness of a recruit's cell phone's voicemail inbox, the way you could see an actual mailbox in someone's driveway, it would be filled to the brim with the little flag on the side waving to signal "no more."

Fortunately for Lawrence, the Charlotte native didn't feel like the process was able to wear him down.

Not that he wasn't happy excited to get the process over with. It's just that it had more to do with him falling in love with a school than it did with anything else that usually makes recruits want to hit the ignore button on their phones.

Lawrence knew once the offers starting rolling in that this wouldn't be a process he would want to drag out. It made it easier once it was clear to him that UNC was going to be the place he would call him.

"Just more of the repetitive type questions. Which isn't a problem because everybody has to get their story. But I didn't get too many shocking questions," said Lawrence.
"Going into it, I was just happy to get my first offer. It started with South Carolina but soon there were a whole bunch of other offers. I knew I didn't want it to wear and tear on me emotionally. I knew I wanted to get my decision over with pretty quickly," said Lawrence. "It wasn't until the new coaching staff, with coach Larry Fedora and coach Vic Koenning, came in for North Carolina that I really took an interest in them. I wouldn't say they were out of the picture but they really weren't one of the frontrunners. "

Speaking with Lawrence now, you'd be amazed that at one point he really didn't have North Carolina on his radar.

But that soon changed due to one crucial piece of a recruit's ultimate decision.

"I went up there for the Duke-North Carolina game and that's when North Carolina didn't really have any commits, at least until later that night. But before that I was liking the vibe. I was telling my coach that I really like this place," said Lawrence. "He could kind of feel that I wanted to commit but he was just telling me to go home, see if I still had the feeling and eventually it went away. So I visited some other schools, took another visit up to North Carolina and I still liked it and was starting to fall in love with it."

"I went back home and was still having the same feeling. My Mom really wanted to be there with me, so we took a visit the next weekend and I was just happy," said Lawrence. "I just told Coach Fedora there in his office. It really took going back home, and every time I went home the feeling went with me."

"Once I met Coach Fedora and Coach Brewer for the first time it just clicked. Then I realized that I really liked that place," said Lawrence. "After being up there two weekends in a row, I just told my mom, 'I'm ready to commit.' Ever since then every school didn't really feel like North Carolina did. After that I knew it was the right choice and it felt like home."

So what is Lawrence doing with his time now that he's only a few weeks away from being on North Carolina's campus?

"It's more relaxing. The recruiting process is fun and I hope every kid enjoys it but it comes to a point where you just want it to be over with. I think once you commit it becomes a little more relaxing. But once you really know where you're going and you sign, you kind of transition to a new home, it becomes even easier," said Lawrence. . I'm just trying to train and get ready. It's kind of hard doing it by yourself but I'm pushing myself right now. I'm finishing track right now but I'm really trying to maintain my speed. It's hitting me now that it's more of a business-like approach. The recruiting end of it is over and you feel like it's more of a job. I'm ready to start this new chapter of my life."

Maybe one of the best qualities Lawrence possesses is his ability look at things with a mature vantage point.

His ability to see the future and take the guidance from those in positions he would one day like to see himself in, is evident as soon as you begin asking him about his future.

"So I would say that the business aspect of it, it's kind of more fun because now you could be going into your next job for the next four to eight years if you're blessed enough to make it to the next level," said Lawrence. "So you're just learning from the ones that are their now and the ones that are coming back to your school. The ones that are playing college football now telling what you need to be prepared for. Just taking any kind of advice and being ready."
Lawrence made sure that on Mother's Day, his mom got a gift that will reflect the journey they will be taking together from here on out.

"I got my Mom a big cup that says 'Carolina Girl' so that she can be Tar Heeled out wherever she goes," said Lawrence.
At this time, Lawrence isn't quite sure how his first season on campus will play out, but he believes he can be a contributor no matter where the coaches line him up.

"Hopefully I can make some plays on special teams first and then make my way over to the defense. But I think I'll probably come in to start by giving the starters a breather. Hopefully pushing them to try and earn a job myself," said Lawrence. "Playing the rover a little bit and as I progress and my body gets bigger, the coaches and myself can see me moving back towards the safety spot. All five positions basically, just trying to help out the team in any way I can. Just being happy to be on the field."

Asked if he could describe on a scale of one-to-ten how ready he is to get to campus, Lawrence gave this response:

"11. I'm just ready. I'm ready to put on those uniforms and get to practice with the people I'm going to be spending the majority of my time with for the next four to five years," said Lawrence. "I'm just excited to get started on this new journey of life and being blessed with the opportunity to play college football."

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