Shaq Lawson dominated college football this past season, finishing among the nation’s leaders in sacks (12.5) and tackles for loss (25.5). Unfortunately, he suffered a knee injury in the first quarter of the Orange Bowl against Oklahoma and was relegated to the sideline.
“I was just supporting my teammates,” Lawson said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “My young freshman, Austin Bryant, came in, and he said, ‘I got you, Shaq.’ The only thing I could do was coach these guys up from the sideline and see the sideline view of the game from not playing. I learned a lot from that. You see a lot of different things when you’re not playing. But from the sideline, you see what can help the guys out. I did that. I helped those guys out with pass-rush moves and everything like that.”
Clemson handled Oklahoma, 37-17, but lost to Alabama, 45-40, in the national championship. It was a sad end to an otherwise wonderful career for Lawson, who figures to be one of the top defensive players taken in this year’s draft.
“I’ve been blessed getting an opportunity to leave Hargrave (Military Academy) and to come to Clemson and to have people around me supporting me through the whole process,” Lawson said. “People just stayed by my side. I was just always hungry. I always wanted to be the best at what I do. I can play a video game and I still want to win because I’m competitive like that. I was just hungry about what I needed to do to help these guys out to be successful.”
Lawson, who has a 33-inch vertical and ran a 4.7 40 at the Combine, can play either a 4-3 or a 3-4 at the next level. That said, he would prefer a 4-3.
“That’s what we ran at Clemson,” he said. “I played a little bit of 3-4 at Clemson, but mostly our defense was 4-3. I like to put my hand in that dirt and go out there and get it. But if they need me to stand up, I can do it too. Half of my sacks came from standing up and half of my other sacks came with my hand on the ground. So I’m comfortable playing both. I would prefer a 4-3. But at the end of the day, (I’ll do) whatever it (takes) to get the job done for the team to win.”