It wasn’t long ago that a 5-foot-10-inch cornerback was considered a taller than average player at the position, but times have changed at the college and pro levels.
More football teams are in search of corners who stand 6 feet or taller in an effort to better defend taller receivers. NFL wideouts generally average about 6 feet 2 inches, giving them an advantage over smaller cornerbacks on high tosses.
When you consider the tallest cornerback in the NFL last year stood 6 feet 3 inches, George County senior Dylan Lawrence is a rare find at the position.
Lawrence is a 6-foot-5-inch, 195-pound multi-sport star who began to earn the attention of larger college football programs as he made his way to camps this summer at Mississippi State, Southern Miss and South Alabama.
“They love my size,” Lawrence said. “They just want me to put a little weight on my frame.”
He already holds scholarship offers from Jackson State, Alcorn State and multiple junior colleges, but has yet to land his first FBS offer.
“I don’t know what they’re waiting on,” George County coach Matt Caldwell said last week.
Lawrence also happens to be a first cousin of one of the best high school defensive backs to ever come out of South Mississippi — former George County star Alonzo Lawrence, who was on the rosters at Alabama and Southern Miss before playing in the Canadian Football League.
The FBS program that Dylan Lawrence has been hearing from the most is Mississippi State with cornerbacks coach Terrell Buckley, a Pascagoula legend, staying in touch.
“I think I grabbed a lot of attention,” Dylan Lawrence said of his summer camp tour. “I’m getting close (to an FBS offer). I’m just waiting for the season to pop off. I’m waiting for the first two or three games, get up there and make a lot of tackles.”
While playing safety last season, Dylan Lawrence registered 76 tackles and an interception. He’ll play both cornerback and receiver this season for the Rebels.
“Everybody tells me he’s just kind of raw,” Caldwell said. “He’s almost like a baby giraffe. He’s really starting to come along though. Just like Terrell Buckley said, ‘Coach, I can’t coach somebody to be 6’5” and run 4.5 (in the 40-yard dash) like he does.’”
After making a strong first impression at summer camps, it’s crucial for the lanky defensive back to have a big senior year and further solidify himself as a college prospect.
While he will be lining up out wide on offense and defense, Caldwell sees a future closer to the line of scrimmage for Dylan Lawrence, who has a 3.4 GPA.
“He’s going to get on campus, eat three good meals a day,” Caldwell said. “He’s going to end up weighing 220 and playing outside linebacker.
“Dylan, when football is over, he goes straight to the (basketball) gym. When gym is over, he goes straight to track. He doesn’t get in the weight room until after track is over. When he’s lifting all year long and eating good, he’s liable to weigh 220. If he’s a kid that runs a 4.6 and weighs 220-225 at 6-5, you’ve got something special. I think that’s what those (college coaches) are seeing.”
With no major offer on the table as of yet, Caldwell has preached patience.
“I told Dylan that (South Alabama running back) Tony Brown didn’t have an offer until the week before signing day,” Caldwell said. “Don’t worry about it. You just play as good as you can play and the rest will take care of itself.”