Lawrence Trying To Prove Critics Wrong Again

Addison Lawrence came to Mississippi State, back in 2007, as an unheralded prospect many didn’t think would have a productive college career. Lawrence proved his critics wrong, though, starting 38 straight games from 2009 to 2011, at right tackle. He was a member of three Mississippi State bowl teams and was one of the key components in the Bulldog rushing attack.

Lawrence is being overlooked once again by NFL scouts as many are questioning whether he can be a success at that level. The 6’4 300 pound lineman is out to prove his critics wrong, again.

I spoke with Lawrence, recently, to discuss his college career, what he brings to the table, and his NFL future.

Lawrence came to Mississippi State as a 250-pound tight end and was slated to play that position. He was eventually moved to offensive tackle and got his chance to compete for a starting spot, in the spring of 2009, after Dan Mullen was hired in 2008.

“It was definitely exciting for the new staff to come in. I was getting kind of frustrated with not playing and not being able to compete. They just reignited my love and excitement for the game of football. It turned up the level of intensity and competition with everybody. It helped me compete and eventually win the starting position,” said Lawrence, on the coaching change.

The Senatobia, Mississippi native won the starting job—beating out junior college All-American Phillip Freeman. One of the reasons he possibly won out, is his aggressiveness.

“It’s just a lot of anger throughout life; you can take it out with football. If you did some of the stuff you did on the football, you would be put in jail. I use that as a chance to release my frustration – off the field I’m calm,” said Lawrence, on his aggressiveness.

The Bulldogs didn’t make a bowl in 2009, Lawrence’s first year as a starter. But they did set the tone for the next season.

“Football was fun again. It was just like high school. We struggled a little bit that year, but we competed; we lost to LSU on the goaline,” said Lawrence.

“It will probably be with me forever—it hurt bad,” said Lawrence, on the tough LSU loss.

The Bulldogs surprised many experts the next season – winning nine games. Lawrence spoke on what it felt like to be a part of the Gator Bowl team and why he wears his trademark eye black.

“It was a real highlight of my career. We had a great season. Before the season, no one predicted that we would win many games; it felt good to go out there and surprise people, week to week. We ended up being ranked, and beating Michigan, a nationally renowned school. It was just a great experience, the whole year, going 9-4,” said Lawrence.

“I wore eye black in high school, a pretty good bit. I didn’t really take it to the extremes, then. I know we had a midnight lift and we painted our face like that. People seemed to like it. It’s kind of like my war paint. Once I put it on—it got me in the mindset to attack”.

The Bulldogs were expected to compete for the SEC Championship in 2011, Lawrence’s senior season. The season went downhill after a heartbreaking loss to Auburn.

“Yeah, that loss kind of shocked us for the whole season. After watching them struggle to beat Utah State; we had confidence that we would beat them. We put a lot in that game, and to lose like that, in the last seconds; it was embarrassing and put a dampening on the whole season,” said Lawrence, speaking on the Auburn loss.

The Bulldogs were dealt another blow, with a knee injury to Tobias Smith, the starting right guard. The offensive line never recovered from his loss. Lawrence spoke on how tough it was adjusting to Smith being out.

“Every week, it seemed like we shook guys around and moving, trying to see what fit best. I know it doesn’t seem like a big deal, moving from one side to another. We had to get guys ready to play, that probably wouldn’t have played. It makes them better in the future, “Lawrence said.

Mississippi State went on to finish the season 7-6. Lawrence did feel the Bulldogs fell short of their own expectations.

“Compared to our past history and our school’s record we had a good season – going 7-6 and winning a bowl game. I know a lot of players and fans were let down because we had higher expectations for our self. Our goal was to compete for the SEC championship; obviously we fell short of that” said Lawrence.

Lawrence had to focus on getting ready for the NFL draft. He got an opportunity to play in the Battle for Florida All-Star game. The three-year starter has been passed up by the Senior Bowl and the NFL combine. It seems like a bit of de-ja vu, as people doubted him the same way, coming out of high school.

“I feel it’s a lot like high school. I think it would be the politics involved, like high school. How many stars you got and who’s going to promote you. I feel underrated and have all the numbers and abilities everyone else does. I just don’t have the platform to show people. I think I will be able to do that in the future, “said Lawrence.

Lawrence isn’t projected to get taken in the NFL draft in April, but he is likely to get an un-drafted free agent deal.

“It’s kind of frustrating, not knowing what I’m going to be doing. Whether I get drafted or sign as an un-drafted free agent, I have to find a team that I have a chance to make a roster for. I got to pick the team that’s best for me, “Lawrence speaking on how he feels about the draft process.

Lawrence feels he has all the intangibles and credentials to compete at the NFL level.

“I’m pretty intelligent, have a good understanding of the game, and am athletic, smart, agile, and aggressive. I have the experience of starting three years in the SEC. No track record or anything like that”.

Addison Lawrence overcame the odds to become a starting SEC lineman. He is now determined to overcome them again and make a NFL roster. I have a feeling the critics may be eating their words again.

Special The Real Story 


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