Chat with Christopher Lawlor
Lawlor has covered high school sports for more than 20 years, most recently with USA TODAY where he was the head preps writer responsible for national high school rankings in football, baseball and boys and girls basketball. He also for worked for Scholastic Coach magazine, where he ran the Gatorade national player of the year program for nine years. Lawlor, a New Jersey resident, grew up in Rochester, N.Y. and is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University.
Send in your questions now and join Lawlor in The Show on Monday at 4 p.m. ET!
Lawlor Archive: Columns
Christopher Lawlor (4:08 PM)
It was a great game in Dallas this week between the 1-2 teams--Miami Northwestern played a solid game, but Southlake Carroll certainly showed they're among the elite teams in the nation.
Bo (New Orleans)
Do you think last weekend's No. 1 vs. No. 2 game is a precursor to a high school playoff system? Or is that a pipe dream?
Christopher Lawlor (4:09 PM)
To have playoffs in football nationwide would be virtually impossible. Certain states would want to play challenge games against other states, to find regional champions, but by and large, high school football's final games of the year will be state championship games.
Chris best high school football matchup this weekend?
Christopher Lawlor (4:10 PM)
I like Lakeland, Florida. They play a team called Boyd-Anderson of Waterdale Lakes. The game is Thursday night in Lakeland. Lakeland is No. 22 in the Nation. Boyd Anderson is considered one of the top 6-A teams in Florida. Lakeland carries a 48-0 win streak into this game.
Any new teams going to enter the Super 25 this week?
Christopher Lawlor (4:11 PM)
Two new teams will enter. At number 23, it's Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks CA, and 25 is Liberty High School of Bethlehem PA. Both teams are highly regarded in their respective states, and will challenge for state titles.
Hey Chris, do you think too many high school athletes are jeopardizing their long term health by playing through concussions and other injuries? I recently read an article, in which a couple high school football players stated they did not believe playing with a concussion would result in any long-term damage.
Christopher Lawlor (4:13 PM)
From my experience, concussions do have long-lasting effects. I'll cite my example: about 20 years ago I was skiing,a nd I took a fall and hit my head during the fall. I always remarked that my memory has never been quite as sharp. I have to believe after a few concussions, a football player or any athlete certainly is at risk. But don't take my advice--always seek that of a medical professional.
Craig (Greenwhich, CT)
Chris, do you think we will eventually see the best high school teams in the country playing each other every week, even if it means trvaelling out of state?
Christopher Lawlor (4:15 PM)
That's a good question. Ultimately teams will settle in to their states and play in their respective districts or leagues, but early in the season, I'd hope schools would reserve one or two games dedicated to a national or regional matchup. Craig, a state like Connecticut doesn't allow teams to travel, so until all states relax travel rules, these types of games would be more difficult to schedule.
Chris your top 5 in the nation right now?
Christopher Lawlor (4:16 PM)
My top 5: 1. Miami Northwestern, 2. Mater Dei (CA), 3. St. Xavier (O), 4. South Panola (Mississippi) 5. Miami-Booker T. Washington
You've been covering HS Football for a while now. Is all this TV coverage good or bad for the kids?
Christopher Lawlor (4:18 PM)
I think it's good. Anytime you can promote amateur athletics and laud the exploits of teenagers, it bodes well for the educational system in this country. However, I can understand the other side. Disappointing losses and setbacks can affect youngsters, but rankings like the ESPN 25 are purely subjective and tend to generate a lot of interest.
How did Elliot Williams visit at Duke go...do you think that is ultimately where he will end up
Christopher Lawlor (4:19 PM)
I have a rule of thumb--until a student-athlete signs a letter of intent, all bets are off.
is Gaffeny still the best team in SC..I used to live there but since I moved I havent heard much from them
Christopher Lawlor (4:20 PM)
In the first few weeks, SC's class 4A rankings have taken a beating. Gaffeny and Somerville have both lost. You'll get a better feel for the rankings in early October. Look for Gaffeny and Somerville to both rebound and advance deep into the playoffs.
Joe (New Mexico)
Do you think high school volleyball is gaining in popularity?
Christopher Lawlor (4:22 PM)
Of course it is, especially on the girls' side. As for the boys, it has temendous popularity in California, Illinois, and Indiana, but the rest of the nation still has to come aboard.
Which Boston City team has what it takes to win the state championship this winter? Charlestown looks good every year, while English has kinda fallen lower and lower in the rankings.
Christopher Lawlor (4:23 PM)
In recent years, the Boston City schools have had a rough go of it. The better student-athletes tend to attend the Catholic schools, but these teams could make a run in the playoffs. The Massachusetts Super Bowl championship only lasts a few weeks.
So after Miami Northwestern's win, does this mean Florida high school football is really better than Texas high school football? Say it ain't so!
Christopher Lawlor (4:26 PM)
One game doesn't define an entire state or show overall superiority. What Miami-Northwestern did Saturday night was remarkable, but so was Carroll's 49-game state record win streak. Comparing states is often difficult, but states such as California, Florida, and Texas are clearly above the rest. The one thing Texas does rank No. 1 in is passion for the sport and the quality of the school's facilities. Last weekend, I visited Carroll's football complex and was amazed. Its indoor practice facility rivals an NFL team, and its 11,000-seat stadium is state-of-the-art. If all states took the same approach as Texas, football would truly become our national sport (if it already isn't).
Willie (Portland, OR)
Who is the best high school football player you've ever seen in person?
Christopher Lawlor (4:27 PM)
Probably Peyton Manning. In the early 90's, I had a chance to see him play in New Orleans. He made short work of his opponent and was on the sidelines for the second half wearing a baseball cap. I always thought he'd go on to bigger and better things. After winning the Super Bowl, it was easy to see why he was destined for greatness.
What's your take on former Mr. High School everything Jimmy Clausen's start at Notre Dame?
Christopher Lawlor (4:28 PM)
As an avid Notre Dame fan, Clausen's development is a work in progress. Don't pass judgment until the end of the season.
Would you say that the Cincinnati GCL (Greater Catholic League) is the best high school football conference in the country with St. Xavier, Elder, Moeller and LaSalle?
Christopher Lawlor (4:30 PM)
The GCL Southern Division is one of the finest football leagues in the nation, but remember, it's only four teams. Other districts may have better depth. For a four-team league, I certainly like their chances against other leagues with similar makeup.
Does Oak Hill recruit players to come there? Shouldn't there be legislation against that?
Christopher Lawlor (4:32 PM)
I've had numerous conversations with Oak Hill coach Steve Smith, and he's told me many times that the school doesn't need to recruit players. Now players recruit Oak Hill. During the season, he receives hundreds of phone calls from prospective student-athletes wishing to transfer. In the end, it seems only the top players make the commitment to transfer.
Joe, Abilene TX
How close is Abilene High (Abilene, TX) to entering the top 25?
Christopher Lawlor (4:33 PM)
Joe, I need to see Abilene make a run in the state playoffs before I pull the trigger.
Mike (Peoria, IL)
My buddy from Oklahoma says Illinois football stinks. Whree do you rank them among other high school football states?
Christopher Lawlor (4:34 PM)
Among the top 10 states in the nation. The Chicago-area talent pool is deep and really supports the rest of the state.
Christopher Lawlor (4:34 PM)
Thanks for all your question, I look forward to speaking with you again soon. I hope to see you at a game. Make sure you support your local high schools in all athletics.