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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 28 Digital 4

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 4 43 It's hard — really hard — nowadays to find ready-made 300-pounders on the defensive line, particularly those with the sort of quickness and relative athleticism that Johnson possesses. That being said, conditioning will be a significant need for the incoming freshman. A well-condi- tioned and driven Johnson could develop into a pretty formidable player, because he is quick, he is explosive in short bursts, and he's really big. Height: 6-4 Weight: 300 High School: Snider Hometown: Fort Wayne Senior Stats: 28 tackles, eight sacks W hen he wanted to be, Lawrence Johnson was a nearly unstoppable force for Snider High School in Fort Wayne. And the big man — he's 6-foot-4, 300 pounds — could terrorize opponents' lines, blowing up the center to disrupt the offense. "When he wants to not be blocked, he's not blocked," Snider coach Kurt Tip- pmann said. "It doesn't matter who we're going against. When he's able to get off the ball and get his hands on a guy, he's not going to be blocked." Johnson committed to Purdue in June, doing so over offers from Western Michigan, Bowling Green and Ball State, with several Big Ten programs starting to show interest. Johnson's athleticism at that size might be his biggest strength, according to Tippmann. The key going for- ward might be conditioning, as it often is for young players on the interior of a defensive line. "He needs to get stronger, and he needs to change his body to be able to play at the Big Ten level," Tippmann said. "He still has a high school body, and he needs to work so that he can withstand the rigors of a Big Ten offensive line coming off the ball at him. I'm talking about longevity, being able to play through the fourth quar- ter, whatever role they have him in, which is true of every incoming freshman. They're not used to the physical nature, and in the Big Ten, in the trenches, it's unlike any other place in the country." But Johnson will get a chance to reshape his body at Purdue, starting when he gets to campus in the summer. And then the Boilermakers can see whether he could contribute early. "He's going to benefit tremendously from a nutrition program," Tippmann said. "And has some issues to address to put himself in the best position to utilize that athleticism. When he does that, he just is going to continue to excel." The Purdue Fit Did You Know? Johnson was a team captain for Snider on a defense that allowed only 14.4 points per game. Lawrence Johnson Defensive lineman "Johnson has po- sition versatility in that he could project to either the three-tech- nique defensive tackle or zero-technique nose guard positions in college. When he's at his best Johnson plays with a nice blend of quick- ness and power." — Midwest analyst Josh Helmholdt take Action photo by

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