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Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Carl Lawson makes it official to Auburn

By RecruitingNation

Defensive end Carl Lawson (Alpharetta, Ga./Milton), the No. 2 overall prospect in the ESPN 150, signed with Auburn, as expected, on Wednesday in a ceremony at his high school. Lawson was an early pledge to the Tigers but wavered in his commitment in recent months. He reaffirmed the pledge shortly before signing day.

"I committed to Auburn the school, not the coaching staff," Lawson said Wednesday in an interview on ESPNU.

-- Mitch Sherman

What is the impact of Lawson’s decision?

What it means for Auburn: Being able to go through a coaching change and retain a commitment from the No. 2 prospect in the country is remarkable -- but even more so when you add the fact that Lawson resides deep in the recruiting hotbed of Georgia. Lawson gives the Tigers an elite pass-rusher who defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson can build around like he did in South Carolina with Jadeoveon Clowney.

What it means for the teams that lost out:  Clemson hoped to capitalize on the dismal season Auburn had, and coincidentally had Lawson on campus for an unofficial visit the day Gene Chizik was fired. It would have been very convenient to replace the decommit of Robert Nkemdiche, the No. 1 prospect in the country, with the No. 2 recruit, but lucky for Clemson the Tigers have three four-star defensive ends already on board, including ESPN 150 prospect Ebenezer Ogundeko (Brooklyn, N.Y./Thomas Jefferson).

Tennessee could have definitely used Lawson, as the Volunteers lack a defensive end in the 2013 recruiting class.

Turning point: Lawson never decommitted from Auburn after choosing the Tigers back in March. But he did take a step back after the dismissal of Chizik to reevaluate his options. Once he returned to Auburn for his official visit Feb. 1, Lawson came to the conclusion that his first instinct was the correct one and that the Auburn program was where he felt most comfortable.

Surprise (scale of 1-5): 2. Anyone who has read the stories or watched the interviews with Lawson knows he is calculated in his answers, and the five-star prospect exuded the same level of thought in his handling of the recruiting process. At no point did Lawson appear was close to decommitting, although Tennessee gave him something to think about.

Immediate impact (scale of 1-5): 4. With the departure of junior Corey Lemonier to the NFL draft, Lawson has an opportunity to step right in and help revamp an Auburn defense that ranked No. 74 in sacks in 2012.

-- Kipp Adams

Fan reaction

“@coachgusmalzahn: BOOM! This is a big one! Welcome to the AU Family, Carl Lawson #AUNLI” @austinfranzen #WAREAGLE

— Jack Singer (@jack_singer70) February 6, 2013