South Mecklenburg High junior defensive lineman Jake Lawler committed to North Carolina Saturday after watching the Tar Heels basketball team beat Boston College in Chapel Hill.
Lawler, a 6-foot-3, 225-pound defensive end, is rated a four-star (out of five) recruit by Scout.com, a national recruiting website. Another site, rivals.com, ranks Lawler as the state’s No. 3 overall prospect in the class of 2017.
Last season, Lawler set a school-record with 13 sacks. He also had 85 tackles, 14 for loss. He was a SoMeck 8 All-Conference pick.
Lawler said he had 12 scholarship offers but was talking primarily with coaches from Duke, Georgia, Northwestern, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Virginia Tech. He said he was looking for the best fit. His parents graduated from North Carolina and were married in Chapel Hill.
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Lawler said he wasn’t intending to commit Saturday, but North Carolina defensive coordinator Gene Chizik spoke to him during the basketball game and coach Larry Fedora spoke to him afterward.
“Coach Chizik pulled me to the side and said, ‘You’re our No. 1 priority (in the class of 2017) and we want you more than anybody else,” Lawler said. “Coach Fedora said the same thing. When we were talking he said, ‘We think about you more than anyone in the 2017 class and want you to be a part of this family.’ I said, ‘I want to be a part of it, too.’ ”