Name: Lawson Holbert
School: Emporia State
Q: What goals did you set and/or accomplish in your final collegiate season?
Aside from anything else I wanted to leave Emporia State better than when I got there. The tone I set for my senior year was to use every opportunity on the field to make big plays, showcase my abilities and be on every team’s radar. The personal goals I set were to lead the conference in interceptions and be an all-conference player at the end of the season. My accomplishments included: Tied the MIAA record for the most interceptions (2) in the nation on the opening weekend of play. I finished the season leading the MIAA in interceptions with a total of seven; in addition. I also ended with 72 total tackles. I earned three defensive MVPs and one special teams MVP for Emporia State, earned First Team DB All-MIAA Conference honors and First-Team All-Super Region 3 honors from Division II Conference Commissioners Association (D2CCA) as selected by CoSIDA.
Q: What would your coaches and teammates say about the type of player you are?
My coaches and teammates would say I’m an extremely hard worker. I am someone they can trust to do my job out on the field and someone who will not only push myself but push my teammates. They would talk about my leadership both on and off the field and that I am someone who works hard in all aspects of my life. My teammates would say that I am someone they can count on for anything – football or life and I am always there to help my guys.
Q: When you are studying film, what do you focus on to improve your game?
When it comes to our opponents’ film, I focus on tendencies in the offense, especially with the quarterback and the receivers – I watch for alignment and releases from receivers as well as watch their footwork. I read the quarterbacks by trying to read what he sees and anticipate what he will want to do with the ball in certain situations. I look for any signs he might give away with his shoulder or footwork to signify his decision with the ball. I try to see what routes they use with certain guys as well as identify their big playmakers. When I study our team film, I try to understand the bigger picture by looking at what my teammates are doing as well as their individual position responsibilities. I constantly analyze myself to identify the things I did right as well as where I still have opportunities to grow. I do this to continuously push myself as a player, understanding there is always something new I can learn about myself and the game.
Q: What separates you from the other pro prospects at your position?
My work ethic sets me apart from other players since all I’ve ever known is hard work. It’s something my parents instilled in me and it’s what I’ve had to do to at each next level. As a junior college athlete, I played against and had the opportunity to practice with top tier, now Division I athletes. Those two years and then transferring to Emporia State put me in positions where I had to battle against adversity, earn my spot and successfully demonstrate my capability to play football at a high level, even when the odds were against me. My size and length set me apart physically as well as my strength. I can defend not only receivers and tight ends of all sizes, but I have the speed and agility to make tackles either in the open field or in the hole. Finally, my attention to detail and focus on position fundamentals not only on the field but in weight room set me apart from other athletes.
Q: What is your offseason plan to train and prepare for professional opportunities?
As an athlete who has a strong work ethic, I also know in order to get to the next level I need to understand the new expectations of a pro athlete and what it will take for me to set myself apart from other pro prospects. I am training with Coach Potts at TopSpeed Strength & Conditioning in Kansas City to maximize my potential when testing out at pro days/combines. This will allow me to focus on my speed and explosiveness as well as my strength while I continue to work on perfecting my craft as a defensive back with Coach Sendish of Top Speed.
Q: What kind of strengths and abilities will you bring to a team that will stand out both on and off the field?
Leadership and a strong character are two strengths I would bring to a team that are assets both on and off the field. On the field my work ethic and drive to compete give me the momentum to create big plays during games. Both push me to better myself and others around me to be better players/teammates in practice, during games or while in the film room. Another strength I bring is my willingness to learn and be coached. I ask questions, take feedback from coaches and continuously strive to get better by adapting as needed.
Q: What is your final pitch to the NFL or any other pro leagues?
My final pitch to the NFL or any other pro league is that at my size and abilities as an athlete as well as my hard work and perseverance are core assets of my makeup and have all been tested within me throughout my football career. These goals are my goals, my aspirations and I have worked hard for everything I have earned not expecting anything to be handed to me. I am driven, focused and willing to work hard to achieve the goals I have set for myself both on and off the field. If you want someone who will come to work every day, give 110 percent and do what it takes to be better than he was yesterday, then I’m your guy.