This episode of the Quick Analysis Series takes a look at one of the top prospects right in Michigan’s own backyard. Lawrence Marshall is a WDE prospect that plays for Southfield High (Southfield) in Michigan. He is listed at 6’3” and 225lbs according to 247Sports, which means that he would have to put on a good 20 pounds if he wanted to play at the Sam spot, yet alone on the DL. Needless to say, Lawrence is far from a finished product. He is a 4-star and the #197 player in the nation according to 247Sports. So what does Lawrence have that pushed the coaches to offer a local prospect so early? Just ask any coach from schools such as Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Ole Miss, Tennessee, or from one of his other 14 total offers.
Lawrence is an athlete. With his hand in the dirt, he displays an impressive first step that usually has his blocker beat before contact is even made. Most of Lawrence’s film shows him making plays in run support, but displays great potential to be the dynamic pass rusher that Michigan desperately needs. His quick burst helps him slip through most blockers, and an impressive bull rush (for 225lbs) makes his game more versatile. Still, like most high school recruits, he could use some work on his pass rushing techniques. On a few plays he gets a little high when rushing the quarterback, but usually he comes off of the ball low and explosive while demonstrating good balance. With his speed and athleticism, Lawrence has the potential to become a real sack specialist. He also does a good job of recognizing the play and getting his hands up when the ball is passed; it’s an aspect that I feel is very overlooked in a DL’s game. As long as he can carry the 30-40 pounds that he will put on in college, I think Lawrence could blossom into an All-Conference type of player.
Stopping the run is another aspect of Lawrence’s game that shows promise. For his size, he does a good job of getting rid of blockers and tracking down the runner. On a couple of plays he doesn’t get off the block as easily, but added time in the weight room should help. Lawrence displays good range, and has the straight-line speed to hunt down plays from behind. He is an excellent tackler that hits low, always wraps up, and brings down the ball carrier quickly. Based on his skill set alone it wouldn’t be too inconceivable to see him playing the Sam; he has good lateral movement, natural instincts, and appears to have the athletic ability to cover crossing tight ends. Don’t take that as an implication of where I think he should play, but more of a testament to his ability and versatility.
With players such as Da’Shawn Hand, Malik McDowell, and Andrew Brown on Michigan’s radar, Lawrence is one that seems to slip through the cracks when talking about DL recruiting. In any other year, he would be one of the top defensive priorities for this staff. From the limited amount of film available, Lawrence solidifies his spot as a 4-star recruit and a top 200-player nationally. If he can come into college, put on thirty pounds of good weight, and still progress as a player, I see him having a very high ceiling. He’s in the mold of 2013 Michigan signee Taco Charlton in the sense that he is a freak athlete that could become a scary football player if the strong coaching and work ethic are utilized. Michigan fans should get more excited about the potential of landing Lawrence; he is a top talent in-state at a position of need, plus Michigan fans have to like the appeal of landing the ex-buckeye commit, for obvious reasons. Lawrence has already been to campus a handful of times, and don’t expect that pattern to change given his interest in and distance from Michigan. Stay tuned for more on his recruitment, which is sure to become another Midwest heavyweight battle. As always, Go Blue!
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