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March 9, 2011

The man behind the mask

In 2007 Addison Lawrence arrived at Mississippi State as a 250-pound two-star tight end.

But this fall Lawrence should suit up as the Bulldogs starting right tackle for the third consecutive season.

"It's crazy," Lawrence said. "It's been a long road but it's been fun. Now this will be my third year starting, God willing, as an offensive lineman in the SEC. It's pretty wild. I never saw myself as a tackle."

The 6-foot-4, 300-pounder has appeared in 34 career games drawing 24 straight starts at right tackle. Despite his success there he cannot help have a little fun with the offensive staff about his former days as a receiving tight end at Magnolia Heights.

"I mess with Coach Koenning all the time asking if they are going to split me out wide," Lawrence said. "At least put in a screen or something."

Lawrence's time at State has been highlighted by his younger brother, Cameron Lawrence, joining the roster as well in 2009. Lawrence is also projected to be the Bulldogs starter at outside linebacker meaning that the brothers butt heads plenty at practice.

As the rising senior enters his final spring in Starkville the Coldwater, Miss., native is one of only a handful of players that remain that were brought in by the former coaching regime led by Sylvester Croom. In the two-plus years since the program has changed tremendously.

"It's definitely different," Lawrence said. "I don't want to knock Coach Croom or anything that he's done because I have a ton of respect for him. Now there's just a different view towards our school and I feel like our attitude is that everyone knows we can win now. I feel like before we kind of had doubts in our minds."

The Bulldogs offensive line will undergo some changes in 2011 with the loss of NFL hopefuls Derek Sherrod and J.C. Brignone but will only have to replace one starter at left tackle due to Quentin Saulsberry moving to center and both Gabe Jackson and Tobias Smith splitting time at guard last season.

"We've got a lot of guys with game experience especially our guards," Lawrence said. "Q is moving to center and he proved he could do that last year coming in for J.C. and did well. We've got to fill in that left tackle spot. We've got June (James) Carmon. He can do it athletically great, he's just real raw. Blaine (Clausell) is a young guy that does very well and he knows the offense a little bit better because he's been there a little longer."

Mississippi State NEWS


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