One of Tennessee's top targets for the 2020 class is and will remain Ensworth defensive back Keyshawn Lawrence. The Nashville native was in Knoxville last weekend to see all things orange and liked everything he encountered on Rocky Top.
"The visit was good," Lawrence said. "There was a different energy with the new staff. I enjoyed meeting them. Coach (Jeremy) Pruitt was serous the whole time, but he did crack a joke or two. The other coaches were cool as I got to know them."
The message from Pruitt was rather simple. Lawrence is a difference maker who is needed in Knoxville if the Vols are going to turn it around.
"He told me he liked my game," Lawrence said. "I like the honesty and how he coaches and stuff like that. He will get on you and not baby you. That's what I need and that's what I want. At the end of the day he's cool, but he is going to coach you hard and push you to be better."
Lawrence could play just about anywhere in the secondary. Tennessee sees him as a versatile playmaker who can play corner, nickel or safety. It also helps that Tennessee has a ton of experience in coaching the secondary with Pruitt being joined by safeties coach Charles Kelly and defensive backs coach Terry Fair. The latter played eight years in the NFL and that resonates with Lawrence.
"I noticed how many quality coaches they have in the secondary," Lawrence said. "You can learn from more than one guy and I think that's big. Coach Fair is my man. I have a good relationship with him. He's similar to coach Pruitt. The only difference is Pruitt is the head coach. Coach Fair played at Tennessee and then in the NFL with the Lions."
Fair is in his first year back at his alma mater coaching in the secondary after a handful of seasons at Colorado State. When he talks about playing at Tennessee and in the NFL, he can do with conviction and knowledge.
"He relates well to players and you can tell that," Lawrence said. "Plus he played at the highest level at Tennessee and the NFL. He can relate to everything we are going through and what he is teaching."
At 6-foot 2 and 190 pounds, Lawrence is rangy and long. He can do it all on the field and that's what makes him such a coveted commodity. The quality attributes aren't just physical. He's a smart player who knows how to make others better.
"I think coaches like my leadership," Lawrence said. "I think I play with a different kind of swag that coaches like as well. I do whatever I need to do to get the job done. All the coaches say I know how to hit and they like that. I can get better with my footwork and get faster as well. I'm always working on my technique."
Clemson, LSU, Ohio State join Tennessee in recruiting Lawrence really hard this early in the process.
"I'd say I'll do something my senior year because I don't see a need to commit early unless I'm going to enroll early," Lawrence said. "I'm just giving myself all the time that I need and taking my time because it's a big decision and I want to make sure I've see everything I need to see."