Photo: Connor McCourtney
In the words of Julius from the classic football movie “Remember the Titans,” “Attitude reflects leadership.” Junior Evan Lawrence, an offensive lineman for Drake’s football team, demonstrates his leadership through his attitude as well as his impressive skills on the field, despite his quiet nature.
Lawrence is one of few players who saw playing time as a freshman. Following his first year, Lawrence became a starter. Next year as a senior, he will start for his third straight year.
“I just kind of got thrown in as a freshman and my head was kind of spinning, and I didn’t know what to expect,” Lawrence said. “Now I’m more comfortable, and I know what to expect, and I know my assignments, so I can help the other guys know what to do.”
Lawrence’s talent throughout the years was recognized last season when he was named to the All-Pioneer Football League First Team. Lawrence said being named to the All-PFL team is one of his greatest accomplishments.
“There are a lot of really good linemen in the conference, so to be up there with them is a real honor,” he said. “I’m proud of all the work I put in to get there.”
Head coach Chris Creighton recognizes Lawrence’s talent and considers him one of the team’s best players. His quiet mannerisms don’t make him stand out at first glance, but simply by watching him on the field, it is evident that he is an exceptional player and a key asset to the team.
“He isn’t vocal and he doesn’t bring attention to himself, but you know, he’s just a rock,” Creighton said. “You know that whoever the opposing team has going against him, even if it’s their best player, that that guy’s not going to be better than Evan.”
Creighton said when thinking about leaders on the team, Lawrence may not be someone that all of the players think of right away, but when he has something to say or when the team watches him play, his leadership truly stands out. He noted that several players probably see him as a leader without consciously thinking about it. They just know that he is extremely good at what he does.
“I think I show guys that I’m willing to do whatever it takes to win, and they should be willing to put forth that effort, too,” Lawrence said. “There shouldn’t be a moment when you look back and wish you would’ve worked harder.”
Aside from his hard work on the field, Lawrence has also made a conscious effort to get to know his teammates and form quality relationships. The concept of a “football family” is extremely important to Drake’s team, and Lawrence truly recognizes that.
“It’s hard to be a leader without good relationships,” he said. “You can use those relationships as an influence to help the team succeed.”
Going into his senior year, Lawrence will be looked at even more than before as a leader. His goals for the team are to finish stronger overall next season and to take advantage of the time and resources the players have to reach the best of their abilities. As for personal goals, Lawrence said he is going to take advantage of his talent and seniority on the team to serve as more of a leader than he has in the past.
“In the past, I haven’t been the vocal leader to step up and say things, and I think this year will be my time to kind of step up and take that role,” he said.