Tennessee Hosts Auburn Commit Carl Lawson

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee head coach Butch Jones is faced with the rebuilding job in Knoxville, and hosted Carl Lawson (Alpharetta Ga, Milton), the nation’s No. 2 defensive end, in the nation this weekend.

Lawson is currently committed to Auburn, but has still scheduled a number of visits as he gauges the market for his talents. Jones has made a big impression on Lawson, and could be a dark-horse to flip his commitment.

Also visiting this past weekend was Lawson’s high school teammate Peyton Barber, a three-star running back who currently is pledged to Ole Miss, but perhaps Jones is able to pull off a two-for-one and get both of the Georgia prep stars to become Volunteers. That certainly would represent a significant coup for Jones, who had to play catchup after taking over for the fired Derek Dooley on the recruiting trail.

Jones has tried to flip some committed recruits, and did so with tight end A.J. Branisel, a tight end that decommitted from Cincinnati and follows Jones to Tennessee. Cornerback Malik Foreman never received an offer from Dooley and committed to Vanderbilt, but the life-long Vols fan jumped at the opportunity when Jones offered him a scholarship and flipped his commitment.

Apparently Jones is blessed with the power of persuasion, and those skills were put to the test this past weekend with the talented Lawson on campus. A decision is unlikely to be made until signing day on Feb. 6, but Jones has given him his best sales pitch and will continue to recruit him up until he sits down at the podium and picks among his finalists.

Flipping Lawson would be the biggest win the school experienced since the Dooley era, and give the Volunteers some much needed momentum heading into the first year under Jones.

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Patrick is the host of “The Wake-up Call,” on Sportstownchicago.com airing Wednesday mornings from 8-10. View his show’s website here.

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