Westdale Secondary School student Demarco Lawrence didn’t let the global pandemic disrupt his desire to achieve his goals.
Lawrence wasn’t able to play high school football this fall, so he took another route to earning a Canadian university scholarship. He posted a windmill jam along with football highlights and workouts videos on his Twitter account and caught the attention of recruiters.
6’0, 39 inch vertical pic.twitter.com/N3eGSEcfV9
— Démarco Lawrence (@Demarco246) September 24, 2020
“It is very rare, and this is a first, where we actually had a clip of someone dunking,” Wilfrid Laurier University head football coach Michael Faulds said.
There was zero interest from post secondary schools in Lawrence when COVID-19 initially hit and the highlight reel slam led to 12 football programs contacting him after seeing his raw athletic ability.
“I didn’t think social media would help me that much,” Lawrence said in disbelief.
Faulds was the first to have a virtual recruiting meeting with Lawrence. He used a slideshow presentation to take the defensive line prospect around campus.
It displayed athletic facilities, University Stadium, campus facts, including being the smallest football school in Ontario, how the team volunteers in the community and uniform combinations.
Even though Laurier hasn’t seen Lawrence play in person and he’s never seen the campus in real life, the two sides were a match.
“The other universities they were really vague with their responses. They didn’t tell me exactly what I wanted to hear so I stuck with Laurier and it worked,” Lawrence said.
Three weeks after first connecting with Laurier, Lawrence made it official signing his scholarship — one his mom didn’t think was going to come about from social media.
“It’s a huge burden taken off the family because, as a single mom raising four boys, it’s not easy,” Kenesher Newell said. “That was my number one goal for him to get a scholarship to university because we didn’t have the money.”
The former three-sport athlete played on the Warriors’ basketball team and ran track — he’s a 100-metre sprinter with a personal best of 11.91 seconds. Lawrence feels competing in multiple sports provided attributes he can use to flourish in football. He loves working out and could pack even more muscle onto his six-foot, 204-pound frame.
Faulds sees elite athleticism for the soon-to-be 18-year-old, whose birthday is November 25. Lawrence can bench press 285 pounds, squat 390 pounds, run the 40 in 4.60 seconds and vertical leap approximately 40 inches.
“When CFL scouts are looking for how fast you run, how strong you are, your athletic ability, we feel if we teach him the techniques and the skill sets, he’s the type of guy that could have a pro career,” Faulds said.
Faulds listed alums Robbie Smith and Kwaku Boateng, recent CFL drafts picks and defensive ends, as examples of what Lawrence could become. Smith was chosen in the second round, ninth overall during the 2019 CFL draft by the Toronto Argos. Boateng was Edmonton’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player that same year and he’s recorded 67 tackles with 21 sacks in 52 pro three-down games to date.
Lawrence believes he can develop with Laurier and have the best chance to reach his potential with the Golden Hawks in Waterloo just a 45-minute drive from home.