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Lawrence Wilson

Height 6-1

Weight 226 lbs.

Age 23

Class Senior

4.63

Read & React: Very instinctual player with a nose for the ball and good backfield awareness. Feels blocks inside and gets through traffic adeptly. Takes a false step on play-action but recovers well and gets into coverage quickly. Stays home on misdirection with the speed to chase down plays to the sideline.

Run defense: Lacks the size of a typical thumper, but bends his knees and gets leverage to stop running backs. Side-steps fullback blocks to get a hand on backs coming through the hole. Uses his quickness to track down ballcarriers sideline-to-sideline. Takes proper angles to the ball, rarely overrunning plays. Excels feeling blocks from oncoming linemen and can sidestep or use his shoulder to get under their pads. Able to disengage from blocks to make plays and make tackles with a lineman still engaged. Lacks great physicality, getting washed out too often and losing leverage battles against NFL-caliber linemen. Must use his hands to hold off the block or more quickly disengage.

Pass defense: Looks like a strong safety and plays like one in coverage. Assignment-sure, picks up his man out of the backfield without fail. Has the speed and secure tackling ability to catch them from behind to minimize gains. Is also fast enough to trail receivers over the middle and wrap up their legs before they get too far upfield. Able to cover the middle third of the field, quickly gaining 15-25 of depth in his drop even after play-action fake. Excellent awareness of routes in zone coverage, many times in the hip pocket of receivers when the ball arrives. Follows the quarterback's eyes to take away late options on scrambles to force throws out of bounds. Can step in front of passes or take advantage of tipped balls and quarterback-receiver miscommunications to make interceptions.

Tackling: Productive tackler, makes plays inside and outside with excellent change-of-direction ability. Covers a lot of ground in space and hustles to be the second or third man to the ball to prevent big plays. Capable of wrapping up, exploding into ballcarriers, and make shoestring and arm tackles. Doesn't miss tackles because of his length and aggressiveness. Best running toward the play instead of fighting through traffic.

Pass Rush/Blitz: Relies on speed and length to chase down quarterbacks from behind on bootlegs and scrambles, rather than being brought off the edge as a blitzer. Capable of beating tackles off the edge with violent hands and is flexible enough to turn the corner. Good quickness to explode through holes on inside rushes, has the strength and change-of-direction ability to track down mobile quarterbacks.

Intangibles: Quiet blue collar athlete who supports his teammates on and off the field. No known character concerns. Needs to become a more vocal leader as a senior.

Under former head coach Randy Edsall, the UConn program went from Division 1AA (FCS) to Big East co-champions in less than a decade. One reason they made their way up the college football ladder is recruiting outstanding players like Wilson, the first recruit from the state of Alabama (Tuscaloosa, no less) to sign with the Huskies.

Wilson redshirted his first season in Storrs, but came on quickly to win freshman All-American notice, starting all 13 games on the weak side in 2007 (113 tackles, 8.5 for loss, one interception, two pass breakups). As a sophomore, he was second on the team with 73 tackles and intercepted three passes, including one he returned for a game-winning touchdown against Louisville. Big East coaches voted him first-team all-conference in 2009 and '10; he racked up 272 tackles, 21 for loss, 8.5 sacks and six forced fumbles over those two seasons.

Edsall called Wilson out during his breakout 2009 season for being "inconsistent" and needing to be "more physical" to reach his potential. Wilson reacted well publicly, saying "that's what good coaches do" and "sometimes I'm a bit lazy." Scouts heed these words, and might wonder if they should be willing to take a chance on his speed, instincts, pass rush and coverage skills in the top half of the draft.

Edited by Shay Tree
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