Commentary

High energy Lawson becomes a top lacrosse recruits

Updated: May 22, 2009, 2:07 PM ET
By Jon Mahoney | ESPN RISE Magazine

Whenever David Lawson is relaxing at home, he can't really, well, relax. Even if he's just watching TV, Lawson will have a lacrosse stick in his hands. And if he's bored, he'll shoot at the lacrosse net in his backyard or even practice in his house, much to the chagrin of his parents.

[+] EnlargeESPN RISE Magazine
ESPN RISE MagazineCover boy David Lawson will play lacrosse for Duke next year.

"He's not the type to sit around," says Lawson's father, Bob. "He's always whacking things off the walls in the house -- plants, pictures. There's always a ball flying around here someplace."

"He's broken things too numerous to even mention," adds his mother, Kathy.

Even at home, Lawson has managed to make an impact athletically. It's the same story at the Middlesex School (Concord, Mass.), where the senior has made a significant impression in football, basketball and lacrosse. On the gridiron, he was a four-year starter at wide receiver and safety and garnered All-ISL honors this past season. In hoops, he served as captain for two years. But it's on the lacrosse field that Lawson has made his greatest impact and where his athletic future lies. Rated the nation's No. 9 recruit in the ESPNU player rankings, the 6-foot, 195-pound midfielder has signed with national power Duke.

He's been the model of consistency for the lax team, delivering 28 goals and 19 assists in both his sophomore and junior seasons to snag All-ISL honors and lead Middlesex to back-to-back 11-4 campaigns.

Lawson came to Middlesex in 2005 after attending Westford Academy, where he earned All-League honors in lacrosse as a freshman. He transferred to Middlesex for academics and athletics and decided to repeat his freshman year to ease the transition in both.

During his first year at Middlesex, he started for a football team that won the New England title. In lacrosse, he tallied 17 goals and four assists for the Zebras, who finished as ISL co-champs that season.

Middlesex lacrosse coach Ned Herter could tell he had a special player based on the intensity Lawson displayed from the get-go.

"He's a complete athlete," says Herter, a member of the New England chapter of the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame. "He's skilled, but he also brings that competitive edge you don't often get in an athlete. I've been coaching for 32 years and he has to be one of the top two or three athletes I've ever coached."

Lawson has channeled that intensity to help thwart the multiple defensive fronts -- such as double-teams and zones -- opponents throw at him.

David Lawson Favorites

  • TV Show: "The Office"
  • Musical Artist: Lil Wayne
  • Pre-Game Song: "I'm Goin' In" by Lil Wayne
  • Athlete: LeBron James

In a victory over Nobles this spring, Lawson recorded four goals and an assist, but it was a play he didn't finish that had Herter in awe. With the ball in his possession, Lawson slammed through a double-team and left the rest of the defense in his wake as he sped toward the net. His shot clanged off the post, but just getting past the defense he faced was impressive enough.

"You're thinking to yourself, 'I'm glad he's on our team,'" Herter says. Lawson chalks the move up to desire more than to skill.

"I'm relentless," he says. "A lot of times I get shut off. It gets frustrating, but you have to keep working to get open."

His efforts aren't limited to the lacrosse field. During the beginning of Lawson's junior season in basketball, coach Jamie Gallagher told Lawson he wanted him to win every sprint in practice.

"The reason I said that is because if the team saw Dave working hard, they would play hard," Gallagher says.

After listening to his coach, Lawson proceeded to finish first throughout the year. Come game time, he was always the one doing the little things on the court to help the team win. And it didn't go unnoticed, as he was voted to the All-ISL second team despite putting up relatively pedestrian stats of five points, seven rebounds and three assists per game.

"The coaches knew he was so important to us," Gallagher says. "He always answered the bell. He was always there."

"Whatever position you put him in, he's going to rise to the occasion," adds Middlesex football coach and athletic director Joe Lang. "David just wants to compete. It doesn't matter what the sport is."

And he does so without searching for extra attention. He'd just as soon avoid the spotlight off the field that comes with being a standout athlete.

"I'm more focused on being successful and getting the job done than what other people say about me," Lawson says.

But it's kind of hard not to talk about a kid who brought a tremendous amount of effort and skill to each sport he played. While lacrosse is his future, Lawson demonstrated the same amount of passion when he participated in football and basketball.

To Lawson, there was never a question of quitting either football or basketball to spend more time on lacrosse.

"I enjoy basketball and football a lot, and I knew eventually I would have to focus on one sport," Lawson says. "So I wanted to enjoy myself for four years and then focus on just lacrosse after that. I definitely enjoy playing those sports and didn't want to give them up unless I had to."

So, is there a sport Lawson is bad at?

"I'm terrible at golf," he says. "To be good at golf, you have to be relaxed, and I wouldn't quite describe myself as that."

The broken pictures and plants in his house are a testament to that.

Jon Mahoney covers high school sports for ESPN RISE Magazine.

Jon Mahoney is a football and baseball editor for ESPNHS. Email him at jon.mahoney@espn.com.