Carl Lawson: What happened between 5-star DE, his four D1 teammates … and UGA and Georgia Tech

Milton High School may have its best crop of college football prospects in school history with five seniors committed to BCS conference schools, including the nation’s No. 5-ranked overall recruit and a running back that is now considered one of the state’s top five at his position after missing nearly all of last season with an injury.

Why aren’t any of them going to UGA or Georgia Tech?

That’s a question asked repeatedly and almost daily to Milton coach Howie DeCristofaro and his five seniors – DE Carl Lawson (committed to Auburn), RB Peyton Barber (Ole Miss), OL Cory Helms (Wake Forest), OL Eason Fromayan (TCU) and OL Josh Harris (Wake Forest)

Milton is an affluent suburb of Atlanta located 35 miles from Georgia Tech and is home to one of UGA’s most fervent fan bases.

DE Carl Lawson is ranked by ESPN as the nation's No. 5 overall college prospect. His dad played football at Georgia Tech and he grew up a UGA fan. He's committed to Auburn (AJC)

DE Carl Lawson is ranked by ESPN as the nation's No. 5 overall college prospect. His dad played football at Georgia Tech and he grew up a UGA fan. He's committed to Auburn (AJC)

UGA has yet to offer scholarships to any Milton players, while Georgia Tech heavily pursued Lawson and Barber.

Ironically, both UGA and Georgia Tech had connections to Lawson, who is ranked by ESPN as the nation’s No. 5 overall prospect. The 6-foot-2, 250-pounder is the son of Carl Lawson Sr., who played fullback on Georgia Tech’s 1990 national championship team. However, the younger Lawson grew up a fan of the Bulldogs.

What about Georgia Tech? “They offered me. I just didn’t want to lead them on. I never really felt Georgia Tech was the place for me.”

And UGA? Well, that’s a little more complicated. “They never really recruited me,” Lawson said. “I was really in love with Georgia. I used to be a huge Georgia fan. But by the time they finally came to the school, I had already established relationships with all the other schools.”

Lawson became an instant celebrity after his performance at a junior all-star game last December, was flooded with scholarship offers over the next couple of months and committed to Auburn on March 24. Lawson said UGA recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner came by the school once during the winter, but that the Bulldogs didn’t get really serious until May – when defensive coordinator Todd Grantham stopped by for spring practice.

“It was kind of like how Georgia did with Jordan Jenkins last year, because I followed that. They didn’t  really recruit him hard all along … But there are no hard feelings toward Georgia. They’re going to have a great recruiting class at Georgia, and we’ll do well at Auburn.”

Despite being blocked by two and three defenders on nearly every play, Lawson has 13.5 sacks in six games this year for Milton. At the junior all-star game, Lawson dominated practices with his aggressive and relentless play, reminding one scout of a “young David Pollack.”  The 5-star will wait until after the season to decide if he will visit other schools than Auburn.

Continued below the photo …


Two D1 RBs at Milton: Junior Treyvon Paulk (No. 1) has early offers from two SEC schools and wants to get looks from UGA, Tennessee and Florida. Senior Peyton Barber (No. 25) is committed to Ole Miss (AJC)

Meanwhile, the 6-foot, 225-pound Barber has rushed for 1,110 yards this year after missing nearly all of his junior season with torn ligaments in his ankle.

Many schools wanted to see Barber run as a senior before offering, but he decided to go ahead and commit to Ole Miss over Arizona State and Clemson on July 29. It’s shaping up to be a brilliant recruiting move by the Rebels. Barber will take official visits to Ole Miss, Arizona State and Wisconsin but said he remains “99.9-percent committed” to the Rebels.

Barber had early offer from Georgia Tech before the Yellow Jackets got two other commitments at running back. “I’ve always been a fan of Georgia Tech, but I probably didn’t want to run in the type of offense they had,” he said.

What about UGA? There has been very little communication, even though the Bulldogs are still seeking at least one running back in this recruiting class after 5-star Derrick Henry de-committed from UGA and later pledged to Alabama. UGA is still targeting some higher-profile running backs, including Norcross High School’s Alvin Kamara.

“I’m not a Georgia fan after I went to Dawg Night [summer prospect camp] a couple of years ago, and I had a bad experience,” Barber said. “I didn’t feel like I got a good look there. I wasn’t put in the groups that all the other players were put in. It’s all good, though. I’m happy with Ole Miss.”

Helms said he had moderate interest from UGA and Georgia Tech, but decided not to wait any longer and committed to Wake Forest over North Carolina and South Florida. Harris picked Wake Forest over Maryland, South Florida and Marshall, while Fromayan switched his commitment from Cincinnati to TCU.

There’s more D1 prospects coming out of Milton in the future: Trayvon Paulk is one of the state’s top juniors at RB with early offers from Ole Miss, North Carolina and Vanderbilt; he would like to get looks from UGA, Florida and Tennessee. Meanwhile, Milton sophomore OL Nick Wilson has early offers from Tennessee and North Carolina.




– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog

Note: Inappropriate BLOG comments and personal attacks will NOT be tolerated. We love the lively discussions but hate-filled, harassing and irresponsible comments are unacceptable.

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86 comments Add your comment


October 10th, 2012
4:07 am


October 10th, 2012
4:12 am

Hey Bc. I guess we’re the only ones still awake. I can never sleep.

Live from Camp Bastion Afghanistan

October 10th, 2012
4:25 am

Dumpster fire!
UGa will continue to be just that until we make some changes.
31-0 2008
Dumpster fire. and that hurts because i am a dawg for life!


October 10th, 2012
5:27 am

The difference between USC and UGA was coaching. Kirk H. wasn’t blunt enough. Our recruiting overlooks some obvious players and all BUT USC didn’t have better talent than us, it’s what the respective coaching staffs did with them, how they prepared for that game, and the lack of adjustments that lost that game so badly. Coaching.


October 10th, 2012
5:33 am

Typical!, #5 rated prospect in Nation, sitting right under the nose of UGA , and as in the SC game UGA is a no show!! I’m so tired of reading these type of stories on the efforts o lack of by Garner and UGA. FRUSTRATING!!!!

To be a champion you MUST beat the champion but these paper champions haven’t shown up since 2008.


October 10th, 2012
5:34 am

Just more examples on why Georgia should fire all of ‘em. We get out recruited, out coached, out prepared and whopped bad. Then made fun of. Time for a change.


October 10th, 2012
6:13 am

Murray tipped the defense off by tapping the center when he wanted the ball snapped is what Clowney told reporters. That’s is how they gained an edge.

Dropped the ball in recruiting?

October 10th, 2012
6:13 am

This article leads one to the conclusion that we ar dropping the ball in our pursuit of top in state talent. I hate to hear our top GA boys talk about our lack of interest in them until it was too late.


October 10th, 2012
6:13 am

For some reason, it still looks like UGA does not know how to recruit the top local talent. There is no way that I wouldn’t have pursued Lawson. He is a difference maker and some say better than Nkemdiche. I still question the way that UGA evaluates talent. They keep missing out on a lot of good players and especially the OL. UGA does not look good at the DB position and they are not really bringing in any CB. The defense will continue to suffer unless they bring in more aggressive pass rushers. Pressure has dissappeared on the QB and the defense as a whole looks pretty porous. The talent is there. I just wonder what happened to the coaching. The offense is still the same. Needs a new OC, but I am not the HC. No matter how many games UGA wins, coaching is still a problem. Still can’t beat the top rated teams.

Cold hard truth

October 10th, 2012
6:18 am

This is not rocket science. The Lawson kid had 20 offers by the end of February, committed to Auburn in March and our coaches don’t even “consider” him for an offer until May. Our coaching staff was clueless on this one. The days of a kid waiting on a Georgia offer for however long are long gone. RIDICULOUS!!!


October 10th, 2012
6:37 am

This staff is not aggressive with these blue chippers….No, you don’t have to offer them all, but they need to be seen the love to stay in the loop. We let a lot of blue chippers get away. By the time we get serious, they are way down the road. After Saturday night, The SECCG last year and the black out by Bama,,,,,and Richt’s passive “public” attitude by the Carolina loss, and not beating a team with more than 9 wins since 2006. and no signature win in 3 1/2 years, I’m ready for regime change in Athens


October 10th, 2012
6:51 am

This staff has no clue. Once again they heavily recruit out of state players, then fall back on the instate guys at the end.

GT = 10 time loser to Mark Richt

October 10th, 2012
6:54 am

CMR can recruit and put kids in the NFL. He cannot win big games or championships no matter how much talent he gets.


October 10th, 2012
7:05 am

True GT 10………And I think the school and campus and tradition and the massive amounts of D1 talent available EVERY year keeps Dawgs at 9 or 10 wins, not coaching. Some who post on here say be careful what we ask for. I’m thinking McGarity would get it right and bring in an elite coach AND staff, lock down this state….and keep Saban up at night. I really do.

UGA alumnus

October 10th, 2012
7:11 am

UGA under CMR & Co. Will be a routine 9-2team year after year.

UGA has become the best of the rest of the SEC and in time, Texas A&M will move way past UGA.

UGA is not interested in being big time in sports. Sad but true.

class of 71&73.

Georgia Gamecock

October 10th, 2012
7:13 am

UGA continues to have stellar recruiting classes but it still comes down to coaching and player character. SC has it both! If we can make it through the next 3 weeks of the toughest schedule of anyone in the SEC, we may have something to really crow about! Was there last Sat night sitting in the UGA section. How sweet that was! 3 in a row!


October 10th, 2012
7:17 am

I’m tired of recruiting all these 5-star players who make it to the NFL but don’t have the heart to play with Alabama (2008) and USC (2011) when the going gets tough. Let’s recruit the 3- and 4-star prospects who grew up loving UGA. I don’t care if we stop being a feeder system for the NFL. I care about what the players do in college.
Class of 93&00


October 10th, 2012
7:31 am

Cold: Mizzou,Vandy,Ole Miss,Georgia,AU,Kentucky
Warm: Tenn,LSU, A&M,
Hot: Carolina,Fla,Bama,Miss St


October 10th, 2012
7:39 am

Interesting Comment on Dawg message board this AM…..The poster said ” Just think, If Richt had the Carolina schedule this year, He would be gone at year end”. Year two that the schedule, not coaching and big wins save him. I watched the replay of the Fla/LSU game last night. No way we beat Fla unless THEY don’t show up and play. Their D looked as good as Carolina’s.


October 10th, 2012
7:40 am

And the sad part, The kid grew up loving the Dawgs…


October 10th, 2012
7:41 am

Our AD has be quite this week. The AD at Tech gave fish fry a vote of confidence…..hum?????


October 10th, 2012
7:49 am


October 10th, 2012
7:52 am

If you were a blue chip prospect, after what happened last Saturday night, why, other than blind loyalty, would you desire to play for the Georgia Bulldogs coaching staff?

A Georgia fan.


October 10th, 2012
7:55 am

I get it that we want the best talent available. BUT when the marginal difference between an in-state prospect and an out-of-state prospect is minimal, PROTECT YOUR BORDERS! Yes go into Tampa’s Plant HS and maintain a presence, hit the atypical superstar like Matthew Stafford in Dallas, but keep great kids at home! Texas is always in a strong talent position because they own the state. UGA is failing to recruit Georgia well. I mentor in a local HS and the kids are almost NEVER UGA fans. It has to start with the players – own the state.


October 10th, 2012
8:04 am

And then the rest of the story, has not been told yet doomsday fan.

Tim in Bham

October 10th, 2012
8:06 am

Enter your comments here
This is the kind off fire we need in Athens! Check out this video on YouTube:

Sent from my iPad


October 10th, 2012
8:08 am

What’s interesting to me is that Lawson’s dad played not only for GaTech, but played on their National Championship team……and the kid grew up liking…. Georgia? That’s just weird to me. That would be like Joe Namath’s son (if he had one) growing up an Auburn fan. There has to be a weird as hell family disconnect for that to happen. I know it’s just football…..but that strikes me as odd.


October 10th, 2012
8:15 am

Click on the above youtube……………..THAT’S whats missing in Athens.

Tim in Bham

October 10th, 2012
8:16 am

Two words, Attitude & Culture


October 10th, 2012
8:17 am

It’s not about stars look at us, we don’t have 5 stars we just recruit players and they turn out to do well. Like many of you say it’s the coach, they have to stay on these kids. Push them to do better.


October 10th, 2012
8:19 am

Did you suppose “Fans” really expect our young offensive line to play like seasoned Juniors? Still does not explain why we played so bad on defense.Those crackers have a good team, but so do we (I thought). They just out-played us on both sides of the ball. How can you blame the OC when Murray had NO TIME to throw the ball mostly, and when he did, he was so nervous about getting hit, that he made bad passes. That’s how you beat a good quarterback – Pressure! No Natty this year, fur sur, but still lots to play for. GO DOGGIES


October 10th, 2012
8:19 am

Don’t know how Lawson remains with Auburn. That place is a disaster and it doesn’t look like it will change anytime soon.


October 10th, 2012
8:24 am

Under performing Defensive Line and blown recruiting. I’ve been saying for years that Rodney Garner needs to be replaced. Here’s more evidence of why I keep saying it!

Vampire Bill

October 10th, 2012
8:47 am

Even when considering the usual AJC spin on all things UGA it is disturbing when a 5star anything goes out of state without serious attention from the dawgs. I’ve always felt like the coaching staff are on top of things recruiting wise but sometimes I really wonder?

Holy Guacamole

October 10th, 2012
9:01 am

One thing that all of you on here don’t take into account is character. From what I am reading above, I wouldn’t put Lawson in the same position with Pollack on character. I really don’t know but it’s just MHO.

Also, sounds like Barber didn’t get his butt kissed at Dawg Night in Athens. I’m ok with that. All of these high school kids want their egos stroked. Your gonna miss one sooner or later but overall, UGA has top 10 recruiting classes year over year so I am not sure that this article is as germane as some on here would like to think.


October 10th, 2012
9:02 am

Top 10 classes…….If we could just convert them to top 10 rankings.


October 10th, 2012
9:09 am

One thing I think you have to consider is the amount of talent not only in the state but just in the metro Atlanta area. There is no way Tech or UGA could sign everyone but both teams should be recruiting the in state 4 and 5 star prospects in a major way.

One think I can’t understand from a Tech standpoint is why quality defensive athletes wouldn’t want to come to Tech and play defense. There would be no redshirting, gray shirting or waiting at all for that matter. A 5 star defensive tackle could play right away – assuming he can make grades.


October 10th, 2012
9:27 am

How can you not recruit or offer the #5 player in the nation—he’s even a fan!!!! You coaches in Athens need to get your head out of your A%$. I bet he beats our brains in for the next 4 years–Things like this are even more of an embarrassment than last Saturday.


October 10th, 2012
9:35 am

Lawson was never coming to UGA. We could have opened out checkbooks like some other schools do but he was never going to come to UGA. His dad played at Tech and steered him to AU.

Milton Class of '90

October 10th, 2012
10:11 am

My how things have changed at Milton. We had the longest losing streak in the nation going when I was a freshman. I never dreamed we’d have major college prospects.

Flo - Ri - Duh

October 10th, 2012
10:16 am

Lawson was the only Milton player considered to be talented enough to start in D1 ball ….. most of the upper tier SEC schools did NOT offer these other guys (not just UGA) …. as for Lawson he is considered a great pass rusher but lacking in run defense. Pollack was rated a 3 star coming out of high school. No one, including UGA knew he was going to be All American material. Time will tell how good Lawson is. Part of it was UGA’s infatuation with Nkemdiche and Isaac Rochelle and the time they spent recruiting them without success. Losing to S.C. the way UGA did obviously will not help them get the top remaining targets they are after. Florida is a must win now.


October 10th, 2012
10:17 am

Good luck kid. However you coach at Auburn may not be their when you get their. And if we are lucky ours may be gone to.


October 10th, 2012
10:18 am

“THAT’S whats missing in Athens.”
Kirby Smart would be just like that, JB.

Not to mention I bet he woulda had all those Milton High boys an offer early on.

Richt will win 10 games with this schedule, lose a bowl game – no way McGarity makes a move, unless his former employers (UF) beat us like SC did. That may make a difference.

Seems to me Richt himself would get tired of getting beat – mosly humiliated – by every good team, and occasional average/poor team, he plays – going backward: SC, MI State, LSU, SC, Boise, UCF, AU, UF, Colorado, Miss St, ARK, SC, UK, UF, UT, LSU, Ok St, GT, UF, Bama.

That’s a lotta losing, and a lotta blowouts.

Flo - Ri - Duh

October 10th, 2012
10:19 am

Last year UGA used the 3-4 and 4-3 defense depending on the situation. This year the have abandoned the 4-3 and are more predictable. Jarvis has been injured evr since the Missouri game and without him they lack a pass rush. Perhaps they should try the 4-3 on passing downs like they did last year.


October 10th, 2012
10:20 am

UGA has dropped the ball for many years. Remember the Yankee kid at Centennial? The Dawgs didn’t offer until REAL late, and the kid went to Stanford, and started as a redshirt Freshmen. He will likely be a first day pick in the NFL draft. But what team needs a dominate left tackle?


October 10th, 2012
10:27 am

GT, who needs a dominate left tackle, when you’ve got a “Dream Team,” (or what’s left of it)?

Coach Richt said, “I know what the hell I’m doing,” and don’t you forget it . . .


October 10th, 2012
10:44 am

Uga’s DL has to be made of DT types. Most high school DEs are converted into LBs. So they must have good size & speed. As far as RB they will only bring in one. Henry was there before Gurshall came along. So it will all work out. This RB will have to understand they WILL share the carries & better be a good blocking back. Don’t forget UGA has plenty of spots left for Feb. All this early commit stuff is just talk until then. LET THE BIG DAWG EAT

Holy Guacamole

October 10th, 2012
10:52 am

Fan blogs are certainly interesting for their lack of football knowledge. How does Lawson compare to SC’s defensive ends at 6′6″ and 6′8″? In the UGA defense, he would have to play OLB (or maybe ILB) and even there, he is a little short. Grantham seems to like them in the 6′4″ range. Others on here have mentioned that he had an attitude toward the coaches at the camps and that he is a good pass rusher but is weak on run support. Then, of course, the unwashed jump on the coaches for not going all out to “get this recruit an offer”. Damn, guys.

Les W. Moore

October 10th, 2012
11:04 am

UGA will have another top 10 recruiting class loaded with Georgia players. Many of those will go on to the NFL. In between… underachievers.

It’s been this way for 11 years.


October 10th, 2012
11:07 am

It appears Richt has a team good enough to win 10 games. Like last year, Dawgs win the easy ones ans lose the important ones. I saw that after watching the Fla/LSU replay. Unless we get a lot better and they get worse, I don’t see that as a win..So, new contract, 20-4 @2 regular seasons, beating Tech like a rented mule, he’s here to stay. We will continue to lose to good football teams. Hope and change is not a strategy I’m told.