Five-star Rashard Lawrence was presented with an Under Armour All America jersey on Tuesday afternoon, in a ceremony attended by friends, teammates and family.
Lawrence, the No. 7-ranked prospect in the class of 2016, is the latest star from Neville High in North Louisiana to play in the prestigious game -- an honor not lost on the nation's No. 3-ranked defensive tackle.
“It’s a blessing. I just thank God that he has put me in the position I’m in,” said Lawrence. “God has blessed me with a lot of talent, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to play in the Under Armour Game. We have had guys before me, Hootie [Jones] and John [Diarse] play in [all-star] games. Hootie played in the Under Armour Game. Just to be able to carry on the tradition is big for the whole school and community. I feel blessed to be called an Under Armour All-America.”
Neville High head coach Mickey McCarty is not at all surprised by Lawrence’s rise to becoming a top national recruit, but says it’s being well rounded that makes the Pelican State five-star prospect special.
“First, as a football player, he a big athlete with great explosiveness and quickness,” Said McCarty. “He’s a tremendous prospect. As a person, Rashard is a real joy to coach and be around. Academically, he’s solid, and also has leadership ability.”
A big question surrounding Lawrence these days is where he will play college football. With offers from many of the nation's top programs, the 6-foot-2, 305-pound defensive tackle, who's athletic enough to dunk a basketball, had the tough task of getting down to five schools.
That has happened, and now it’s time for the official visit process to begin.
“I’m down to five schools," Lawrence said. "LSU, Alabama, Ohio State, Washington and UCLA. I’m getting a better picture of where I’m comfortable. I’m still working on official visits. I’m thinking of going to UCLA for the Arizona State game and Ohio State for the Penn State game. I will also get out to Washington on an official visit,”
Lawrence, who made an unofficial to LSU last weekend, plans to decide after the season with an announcement possible at Neville High.
Seven questions with Rashard Lawrence:
What player are you looking forward to competing with or against in the Under Armour All-America Game?
McTelvin Agim. I hope I get to play on the same team as him. That’s a player that I would like to line up next to. We make a good combo. He’s one of the best ends and I’m one of the best tackles and it would be fun to line up next to each other.
If you could start a team with any player in your class, who would it be and why?
I would probably say Shea Patterson because he’s real polished. Of course I’m a fan of the hogs on the line, but you have to have a great quarterback, and Shea has that ability.
What is your earliest football memory?
I used to be a quarterback when I was seven or eight. My dad coached the team. We used to run 18 sweep. I used to run outside, and I was actually pretty fast back then. That’s when I was skinnier [laughing].
Which football player did you watch as a kid?
I used to like Michael Vick when I was younger, when he played with the Falcons. Right now, I watch Geno Atkins for Cincinnati every chance I get.
If you could take on any pro in their sport, who would it be and why?
Serena Williams. It’s because I have the biggest crush on her. She’s a great competitor, an amazing talent and maybe the best female tennis player ever. To be in the same area as her would be great.
What number do your wear, and why?
I wear 99. There isn’t any significance behind it. I got stuck with it when I was a freshman, and have just kept it. I wouldn’t mind a single-digit number in college though.
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Probably that I’m very affectionate. It’s hard to make me mad off the field, unless people only want to talk recruiting with me [laughing]. I like all people. I’m easy to talk to, and enjoy talking to people and getting to know them and where they came from.