PETALUMA, Calif. -- JaJuan Lawson has always been a good athlete.
But he didn’t grow up playing quarterback. When he was a freshman he could throw a well-placed ball, but he didn’t know much about playing the position.
Now, after finishing his junior season, the 6-foot, 176-pound standout has molded himself into a Division I prospect.
“I feel like I’ve made strides from my freshman year to now,” he said. “I’m not going lie, before my freshman year, I didn’t have any quarterback training.”
With FBS scholarship offers from Arizona and UNLV, Lawson is well on his way to playing at the next level. However, he is not satisfied with what he has accomplished.
His determination to improve as a player and prospect is a big reason he was able to pick up the position so quickly. Now he is working to improve his play-fakes and footwork so he can take another step forward as a senior.
Despite being hampered by an ankle injury late in the season, Lawson threw for 1,840 yards and 17 touchdowns. He completed better than 66 percent of his passes and rushed for 581 yards.
But, despite the numbers, he heads into the offseason with mixed emotions.
“I thought we underachieved this year,” said Lawson, who is on the ESPN Watch List. “I thought this was a team that was going to do special things and make a run for a state championship. It felt like it never got together right. We just never really came together.”
One of his primary goals heading into the offseason is honing his leadership ability. He has teammates out on the field once a week for throwing sessions and tries to coordinate workouts in the weight room.
“We have to be able to squeeze football in with everything else around just to make sure we’re going to be as good as we can be for the upcoming season,” he said.
With college coaches focused on their 2013 recruiting classes -- signing day is less than two months away -- Lawson has his focus fixed on school and improving as a player.
“Now I’m just focused more on school and finishing out the semester strong,” he said. “I know, right now, schools are finishing up the Class of ’13, so it slows down a little bit. I know once Feb. 6 hits and it’s national signing day, everything will pick up again.”