Lawrence Austin became Georgia Tech's eighth commitment on June 17th, 2013, just hours after Trey Klock's commitment, and only beating the next guy by what I can assume was a minute or less. He's listed at 5'9", 181lbs, and hails from Lamar County High School in Barnesville, GA. (Getting there is a relatively short drive down I-75 South, and hopping on US-41 once you reach Forsyth.) He was high school teammates with two other Georgia Tech commitments, but more on that later (this week). He actually played both ways in high school, as a cornerback on defense and running back on offense (behind his brother, who played QB). He commits to Georgia Tech over offers from South Carolina and Marshall, though he may be one of a number of cases for Georgia Tech where an early commitment and middle-of-the-pack rating kept other schools from paying him any attention.
Austin may have a middle-of-the-pack rating, but all signs would indicate that he doesn't have middle-of-the-pack talent. When the coaches were discussing him on National Signing Day, they mentioned how he's always heard "size this" and "size that", and yet they put him up against a lot of guys one-on-one and he "covered the heck outta them". Indeed, Austin has a small frame, even for a corner, but there's reason to believe that if that weren't an issue, he may have been a 4-star prospect. Which begs the interesting question of how big of a role size will play for him, as opposed to skill and technique.
Frankly, I'd be wary of putting him on a "bigger" receiver such as a 6'6" Darren Waller, but I also think that size isn't everything at DB. A perfect example? Former Jacket Jemea Thomas is currently in the process of shooting up draft boards, and will be at the NFL Combine this week. Thomas only ever played in the secondary at Tech (some corner, some safety), and was something of a superstar the past two years. He did all that while listed at 5'10", 190lbs...and listings tend to be a bit generous. All this basically to say that I'm not making any conclusions right now. It may turn out that size isn't a factor and Austin is a really solid corner. It may also turn out that he's just not big enough to play at this level. From what I've read though, I'd be willing to bet it'll be closer to the former. I like what Austin brings to the team and think he's got a chance to be a really special player for Georgia Tech. As for whether he'll play as a freshman, time will tell. I have a feeling that he won't, though he could see time if one or more guys in the secondary get injured. While there's a good chance Step Durham plays as a freshman, Austin seems more the type that Coach Johnson has made a habit of redshirting.
Lawrence is rated as a 3-star prospect by Rivals (5.6) and the 247Sports Composite (.8450).
Excited for Austin? Think size will be an issue? Does he play as a freshman?