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May 29, 2012- - Auburn commits Carl Lawson and Dee Liner were already ranked in the spring Rivals100. They didn't have to showcase their skills and test themselves during the combines this spring. But they did.
Lawson won Defensive Line MVP awards at both the Georgia Rivals/VTO Combine and Charlotte Nike Football Training Camp. Liner won Defensive Line MVP at the Alabama Rivals/VTO Combine.
On Tuesday, both Lawson and Liner were rewarded with 5-star rankings by Rivals.com. Lawson leaps from the No. 91 overall prospect to the No. 14 ranked prospect nationally and is the new No. 1-ranked weakside defensive end.
Liner moves up from the No. 42 overall prospect to No. 15 overall, and becomes the No. 3 strongside defensive end nationally.
"Liner showed up at our camp in March and did what he always does, which is dominate. He comes with the right attitude, he comes prepared. What you see in person mirrors what you see in person, and when you put those together, what you get is a five-star kid. It will be interesting to see where he plays in college, defensive end or defensive tackle," Rivals' southeast recruiting analyst Keith Niebuhr said.
"As competitive a player as Dee Liner is, Carl Lawson may be one up on him. This is a guy who is a 'anywhere, anytime' guy. He easily could have competed in the Nike camp in Atlanta, but instead, he competed in Charlotte so he could see new competition. He left at four in the morning to get to the camp. And at both camps we saw him at, when the camp was done, he tried to get extra some action in at linebacker. That's how competitive he is. He has lightning quick moves, very explosive."
The 6-foot-3, 245-pound Lawson is honored by the ranking, but understands his production on the field is more important than stars by his name.
"I'm happy and grateful," Lawson said. "I pay attention to rankings, but it doesn't matter where I'm ranked. I'm paying attention to the guys who are ranked ahead of me to see how good these guys are. I never went to those camps to get ranked a five-star, I went to go against good competition.
"There's many people out there who have a dream. To pursue that dream, you have to be competitive. I'm sure there are a bunch of guys as competitive or more than me. I'm not going to say I'm the number one person. But I'm competitive."
Liner, who stands 6-foot-3, 280-pounds was blunt. He doesn't worry about his ranking, it makes no difference to him.
"I don't even know what a five-star is. There are players that I've seen that I don't think are five-stars," Liner said. "But I don't know what to say, War Eagle!"
Lawson and Liner met for the first time last Saturday at Auburn's fourth-annual Big Cat Weekend. They began to build their own relationship and recruit others into Auburn's 2013 class.
"It's great. I know Dee Liner is a great player and it's great to know someone on my team is also a five-star," said Lawson. "It's more of a word, I don't feel like it defines us as players. I already knew he was a great player whether he was a five-star, whether I was a five-star. It's great to know that because on Rivals we can bump up our class rankings. I think Big Cat helped out a lot. From my perspective, I think this class is going to be a real surprise. There will be a lot of good players picking Auburn."
"That was my first time meeting Carl," Liner said. "We just got to know each other more. We tried to get Montravius (Adams) and Reuben (Foster) to come. That would be a hell of a defense right there."
Fellow Auburn commit Trey Johnson from Central Gwinnett (Ga.) remains firmly in the Rivals100 at No. 42 overall. Johnson is still the nation's No. 1 inside linebacker. Alabama commit Reuben Foster from Auburn (Ala.) remains the nation's No. 1 outside linebacker.
Adams remained the nation's No. 1 defensive tackle prospect, earning 5-star status as the No. 10 prospect overall.
Lawson and Liner will both be at the first-annual Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge in June. The competition will be held in Atlanta, where 4-star Auburn commits Johnson and Earnest Robinson from Pinson Valley (Ala.) will join them.