Academic issues arise for UF LB commit Lawson


There’s no doubting Dillan Lawson’s athletic abilities.

At 6-4, 215 pounds, the Florida commit has the speed to run the 40-yard dash in 4.51 seconds and the strength to dead lift 535 pounds and bench 365. UF coach Will Muschamp told Crestview high school coach Kevin Pettis that Lawson was the best linebacker he evaluated on film this year.

And although Lawson might have things figured out on the football field, he recently learned — the hard way — that even the most talented athletes can’t play unless they’re good students, too.

Poor grades caused Lawson to transfer to an alternative school (Okaloosa Youth Academy) in early May and he is currently not a member of the Crestview football team, which won its spring game 12-7 over Niceville Thursday night.

“After our first week of practice,” coach Pettis said Friday, “we sent him to an alternative school here in the county just so he can get his credits caught up and get where he needs to be academically.”

According to Pettis, Lawson could have remained at Crestview and participated in spring football. But he switched schools so he could improve his chances of qualifying at Florida.

“He’s eligible for high school, that isn’t the problem,” said Pettis, who expects Lawson back at Crestview in the fall. “We’re just trying get his courses done so that he can be academically eligible for the University of Florida.”

Pettis said the UF coaches are still honoring Lawson’s commitment and will work with his teachers and guidance counselors to help him get back on track.

“They’re very concerned about his academics,” Pettis said. “Florida is just kind of waiting to see how he improves. But he still has his offer and he’s still committed to the Gators.”

Ever since Lawson left Crestview, more off-the-field issues have started surfacing that suggest his troubles stretch beyond the classroom. Pettis said other than an arrest for fighting, Lawson hasn’t had any problems in the past.

“No truth whatsoever,” Pettis said in response to rumors about Lawson’s bad behavior. “He got into a fight last year. Just a regular, normal fight. The other kid that he fought, that kid’s parents pressed charges. But they were mutual combatants and you usually don’t see someone get arrested when that’s the case. He’s a good kid, he just needs to get his grades up.”

Photo taken from Crestview’s website


  1. Interesting hope he can get it together hopefully the coaching staff will help this kid.It’s important to not just give up on him not for football but for life reasons.Doesn’t hurt that the kid is a monster on tha field.Let’s gooooo.

  2. I would hope that Muschamp will sit down with this young guy and have a real heart to heart about proper discipline, behavior and consequences. I hope and pray that Muschamp will develop a close to zero tolerance for thug behavior and drug use, whether it is pot or alcohol. I am a long time Gator fan since 1966 and I am tired of the reputation that Florida has gotten over the past few years. This continued arrest records needs to end at U of Fl.

  3. Once again academics take a seat behind every other consideration for football players, and by a seat behind I mean on a bus going the wrong direction. We need to stop this obscenity of admitting kids that have not met the most basic of academic standards as it only cheapens the diplomas received by others and is a insult to all those that have truly worked hard to meet and exceed the standards.

  4. Springman live one day in their shoes and come back and let us know all about your grades. Thats all they talk about where he is from.
    Go back to disney land.

    EMK You have to be from clown college . Troll On Troll

  5. GoGator, I completely agree with you on Muschamp sitting down with this kid and having the heart to heart.But the idea that every kid that has gotten into a fight at some point in his life is a thug is wrong. one of our best definsive lineman got into a fight last year, did you campaign to have him thrown off the team. Answer one question have you EVER gotten into a fight (if you started it or not) if the answer is yes then you are a THUG according to the discription you are laying out for these kids. Apply that standard to your mother or father or siblings or any relative or someone you consider cultured maybe even your pastor. Stop labeling people with such a narrow standard.
    And for Springman, You should applaud his high school coach for not just thinking about sports and shipping the kid of so that he can turn things around to make a better life for himself. If he is able to go and bring his grades up to where he can graduate with his class and qualify to get into UF he should be applauded, NOT PUT DOWN. WAKE UP GUYS, stop setting standards that you don’t want held to you.

  6. I do not need to ‘troll’. I am home. Undergraduate degree from UF in 1965. Graduate professional degree from UF in 1968. Season ticket holder from 1984. A young man’s financial situation does reflect poorly on one’s character. A person’s behavior reflects on one’s character. Those people who claim to be Gator fans must do some self-evaluation. It is possible to win and still have kids in the program who have some interest in getting an education and who can function as law abiding citizens in the communities in which they live. And, from a purely self-interest perspective these kids never make it at a university anyway; usually it is a few arrests over a period of a couple of years, substandard grades in the most basic academic courses and after disgracing themselves and the university community, they are kicked off the team and out of school and return to their homes and a marginized life. I hope this kid can make it. But welcoming him at UF only because he is ‘a monster’ on the field is hardly a constructive or mature approach.

  7. I personally believe that discipline, character, and achievement in the classroom parallels the way a student-athlete conducts his life outside the classroom. Thank God the high majority of student-athletes at the U of F achieves in the classroom and conducts themselves with discipline and character outside the classroom also. Florida has had many athletes over the years, high character inside and outside the classroom, example Tim Tebow, Chris Leak, Danny Wurfeel (spelling), Brad Culpepper that succeeds in the classroom and on the gridiron.

  8. The fact he got in trouble tells us very little, he’s still a kid. What he does about it from this point will tell us everything. Let’s hold our judgements for another six months. The fact he is trying to make things right says a lot.

  9. Well said Creek Gator.. It saddens me to see Gator fans with this elitist attitude towards those who may have not had the proper up bringing or fortunes as others. to label these kids and say that they will end up having a margenalized life is distasteful and sad to say the least. To have the audacity to say you are a Florida graduate and have this type of attitude makes me sick to my stomach. From here on out. If you have that type of attidtude about kids who may have fell short (Which we all have) in certain areas in their lives. I don’t want you as A Gator fan. Some of the greatest Gators to come trhrough here and respresent the U of F have had to go and get grade issues straighten out. So don’t start this elitist crap. As long as he has the ambitions to get it workde out and his coach is b acking him. Who are we to right him off. MUSCHAMP, THIS COULD MAKE OR BRAKE YOUR COACHING CAREER. YOU GIVE UP ON THIS KID AND YOU LOSE OUT ON TOP STUDENT ATHLETES FOR YEARS TO COME BECAUSE YOU FAILED TO RELATE AND HAVE A HEART FOR THESE KIDS. WHY SHOULD THEY COME HERE IF WE DON’T CARE ABOUT THEIR FUTURE? GO GATORS!!!

  10. Excuse the typo’s. I’m a little ticked off at some of the comments on here. I have been a Gator for 36yrs. and I don’t take lightly people critisizing kids who want to be apart of this program. The kids are off limits!!!

  11. Dear Gatorbread (sic): It is indeed unfortunate when reasonable observations by one supporter of the UF program are responded to by the vitriol of personal and baseless attacks on one’s opinion and perhaps one’s character by another who purports to be a supporter of the UF program. For example (‘I don’t want you as a gator fan’). I am sorry , son, but you have no say in the matter. After re-reading both my comments and your attacks upon my opinions. I stand 100% on what I have previously written. Again, I repeat, I hope the kids makes the needed changes in his life in order to be admiited and be successful. But, if he decides not to do so he would be best served by going elsewhere, as would W/M and the program even if he is a ‘monster on the field’.

  12. I think people need to stop acting so sanctimonious in their comments. As if we care about these student-athletes. What if it were a non-monster-on-the-field who were coming to UF with reading skills that are about at the 5th grade level? How would you like to have to teach some of these student athletes in your class? It can be a nightmare at times. Would you open the doors to UF to just anyone who has not shown enough discipline in the past and whose academic ability is so low that they may not even qualify for UF? I think not.

    Let’s just be honest and say that we all really want UF to win on the football field. For this reason, we are prepared to give some of these young men another chance, and we think that the experience of being on the team and being forced to go to class can be a growing experience that instills discipline, an attribute that can be helpful to all in the long run.

    Those of us who say “don’t chance it on a high-risk kid” are perfectly in their rights to do so. It’s not my point of view, but that’s simply because I am cynical enough to admit that this is not about education, but about getting a football team with some tremendous athletes, many of which have no business being on a college campus if they were not.

  13. EMK, Lets get a couple of things clear. For me to purport to be a Gator would mean that I was claiming something that was false. I was born and raised right here in Gainesville Florida. Have been a gator my entire life. Back when it was turf and the players dormed at Yon Hall. So there are no false claims in that regard. My comments concerning your post started when you said this kid doesn’t belong at Florida. You don’t know not one thing about this kid other what has been writen and all of a sudden per your observation he doesn’t belong. Then you state and I quote” from a purely self-interest perspective these kids never make it at a university anyway; usually it is a few arrests over a period of a couple of years, substandard grades in the most basic academic courses and after disgracing themselves and the university community, they are kicked off the team and out of school and return to their homes and a marginized life.” as a Gator fan thorugh and through I don’t want to be associated with that type of attitude towards 17 yr. old kids who have adream of Playing at this prestigious University whether thay have basic knowledge or not. This kid probably ws told he would never amount to nothing, be from a broken home, been abused himself and because of a write up about this kid having one fight and having to catch up on some grades. that were maybe a result of somke personal issues at home that cost him school time thus grades falling. He doesn’t belong? Excuse me for caring and wanting this kid to have a chance that he probably never thought was possible until he was succesful on the football field. Real Gator Fans care about these kids and don’t write them off because of one news article. But I guess I am not a real Gator fan who cares about these kids. I purport to be one…….

  14. What if he were your kid? Would the same judgement and standard apply? I think not. You would say, ” hey my kids not perfect but he deserves a chance.” That’s all this kid wants is a chance. He could have committed to another college that had lower academic standards. Like say out west down I-10, but he is still committed to Florida. To me that says enough….

  15. He’ll get in. The alternative school will pass him through, as will the high school. He’ll come to UF and skip classes and be passed through until he’s well known enough to make the NFL draft. He’ll make millions. Be honest, you people. You don’t care as long as he plays good ball and makes millions for UF. Pathetic football culture.

  16. I think we are all Gator Fans, whether we agree or not on admitting young guys with checkered pasts or low academic achievement. I am talking about such crimes as armed robbery (NuKeese Richardson case last year in Knoxville), beating up and assulting your girlfriend with more than a simple of push, if there are documented visible injuries.

  17. If a prospect cannot qualify academically whether its a GPA or FCAT, he has no business at the U of F, as sad as it is. Also what disturbs be are these athletes that get arrested for driving with a suspended drivers license and get rearrested again and again, which happened to one of our players last year. How bright and intelligent is that.

  18. Also another incident last year that disturbs me is the Janoris Jenkins incident. To get arrested for marijuana possession once wasn’t enough for him. I guess he didn’t learn his lesson the 1st time, he gets rearrested again, for the same thing, I’m glad Muschamp reluctantly sent him to the U of N Ala. There are student athletes that obey the laws and the rules and cause no trouble at their university. Some of us treat the offenders like they are the victims.

  19. I guess it’s time for me to chime in again, I really hope some of the posters will go back and read the things you are saying. Many of you are doing your best to make a point about the academic standards of some of these athletes and how prestigious our great university is, but from what I’m reading you are ACTUALLY or saying this is an inferior UNIVERSITY. If these 5th grade level, past through ATHLETES can get into and for the most part stay in the university long enough to be seen by pro scouts and then move on, I think we should be either criticisizing the academic standards of our great UNIVERSITY or we must be CHEATING (remember FSU and their academic scandal). STOP BLAMING THE ATHLETES, they are trying to make a way in life like all of us with the tools they do have. Now focus on the learned ones that are perpetuating this system. I really look forward to responses for this one. I”M WAITING.

  20. GoGator, Please don’t forget the two basketball players with the good academic record that caught in ST. Augustine a year or so ago that was stealing A CAR STEREO. Remember those two that were never labeled THUGS. What are we talking about here, football players, black football players or athletes in general??? What about the THREE softball players that was kicked off the team at a very critical time I might add. The offense was bad enough to kick them off the team immediately BUT not big enough to tell why? From the RUMORS out of Gainesville, IT was Racially motivated, and I don’t know the real reason but if that is true, is our GREAT UNIVERSITY (and I thing they handled it very well) picking and choosing what full stories are put out for image sake? Is that for the ATHLETE or the SCHOOL???

  21. Good points, those 2 basketball players (white), in my opinion should have been kicked off the team. If I was on the basketball team, I would have problems trusting them from not stealing from me, my locker, my car, etc. I wish I knew more about the softball incident to comment. You’re right, I guess the school is picking what stories are chosen are put out into the public eye for images sake. To me, I don’t care what color the athletes are. I’m talking about athletes in general, color doesn’t matter.

  22. Glad to read your comments, my image of your previous comments seemed race based because it appeared to select just the black athletes. Don’t get me wrong, i’m not pulling the RACE card I just thought you were. We should be above that and more open and broad minded. There are athletes at every university that face these challenges and need guidance in how to avoid them. I REALLY think that we as Gator fans only focus on the student athletes and give the general population of students a quiet pass. There is someone out there that have access to numbers that will show just how much trouble the general student population gets into but we are not critical of them because it is MORE of a reflection of the culture of our Great University. This stuff is happening at ALL colleges and universities. Lets stop beating up on the student athlete and set up some type of orientation or program that will give them a better view of college life and the expected behavior. GO GATORS !!!!

  23. If he gets his grades in order and gets his head on straight, why wouldn’t we take him. I don’t want to label a kid too early – he does have an entire year before graduating. I was a much different person when I was in college than when I was a Junior in HS. Lets be honest if he is that good and he’s on the fence between being a bad kid or a good one – then the coaches will probably take a chance. If he wasn’t then they won’t. Its just the way it is and it doesn’t bother me.

  24. I hope Lawson is able to get his grades where they need to be to qualify and hopefully there will be no other issues with him, so we can get him. As CreekGator said there are atletes at every university that face grades and discipline challenges and they all need guidance in how to avoid them. And as far as I’m concerned it is not a race issue. I want every young man on the roster to succeed in all areas.

  25. UCF this past off season had at least four issues to deal with and George O’ Leary dealt with all 4. There were suspensions, apologies to their teammates and conditions where all 4 could return to the team. Only 1 involved a crime and that involved a white player J.J. Worton, a young promising wide receiver. He assaulted a police officer, under the influence, and ran from the police. He will probably be allowed back on the team this fall. I disagree with that. He should be off the team permanently. Arrested with a felony, serious charges. Unfortunately every university has the same problems.

  26. Let’s get this kid straight and get him in here. A little maturity is all that’s needed for this guy, and that will come. If all you can say bad about him is he got into a fight once and let his grades slip, well, then he’s me back in the day. Now. I’m a father of 4 and have been a CPA for 15 years. I matured at UF, and he can too. Even easier for him, he’ll have help.

  27. For XTACCO:
    There is an Okaloosa Youth Academy in Crestview Florida, it’s a 6-12 school. It took me exactly 8 seconds on Google to find it. Please check your facts before spouting off next time.

  28. Thanks for the update Lizardgrad89, the fact that XTACCO brought that out and no one responded could lead more of us to think the system is really screwed up if that qualifies as educational institution. I don’t know anything about this kid but lets allow him to determine his own future with a chance and some help. If he or any other athlete is going to be a bad apple, it won’t take long for it to surface. But on the other hand lets not push him down the road to failure. Lots of positive vibes today. GO GATORS!!!!

  29. for Lizardgrad (and Creek Gator):

    Yeah, I can Google too, and spent more than 8 seconds to click on the links it brought up to verify that the addresses for your alternative school and my juvenile justice facility are the same, so I did check my facts. I’ve also actually made on-site program audit visits to OYA many times. OYA has a schoolhouse for the residents that is staffed and accredited by Okaloosa County School District and described as an alterntive school on the school district web site.

    I wasn’t spouting off and I’m not some trouble making troll. I’ve been a loyal Gator follower since graduating from UF 34 years ago. When I read the coach’s comments about him attending Okaloosa Youth Academy, this is the only one I know of and my reaction was “I hope to God he got the name of the school wrong”. Since everyone didn’t seem to realize that ther is a juvenile justice facility called Okaloosa Youth Academy, I figured I’d point that out, thinking that there was a worst case scenario that possibly should be considered, that’s all. Maybe I could have expressed things a bit clearer.

  30. XTACCO,
    Do me a small favor and reread my post, I never attacked you in anyway. I only mentioned you in a since that if no one responded then the fact that it is a correctional institution only brought out my fears that the state of the recruiting process,eligibility process and academic standards have taken a hit. I will say that I never Googled the institute, I was only relying on the data put out by the two of you. I was relieved by his post because I didn’t want to think that the sate of affair have fallen so far. I never question anyone’s character or loyalty as a fan or any of that, but I will make comments about injustice as I see it (that has nothing to do with what we are talking about now). I’m just disappointed at how the system has fallen to new lows.

  31. CREEKGATOR I enjoyed the dialogue. Let’s continue the dialogue and conversation into the season. I will looking for your postings and will comment if I can add anything worthwhile to the topic. GoGators.

  32. Mutual combatants, just the other parents pressed charges. I guess that mean he beat the crap out of him. LOL.

    Seriously though, IF it is only the one fight… we should all get over it. Muschamp and his staff need to do a deep eval and make sure that is all it is.

    I think everyone should applaud the kid for going to a diff HS to get his grades up. He could have just stayed at his current school and played FB. I am sure some school would have admitted him either way. The point is (or at least is implied) UF would NOT admit him if he continued what he was doing. SO HE made a change (a tough one I am sure) to go somewhere else and make the grades so he CAN go to UF. IMO, that shows dedication and heart. Have to remember, I am sure all his HS career he was just told how great he was at FB and never even realized he needed to do well in school too. Give him credit for realizing this and making the change to be better!