GREENVILLE — Several players at the collegiate football level are able to spend all four years of school at one program, while others move around.
Erik Lawson, a Northeastern High graduate of 2015, falls into the latter category.
The snapper began his collegiate career with National Junior College Athletic Association’s Georgia Military College for two years and after earning an associate’s degree, Lawson transferred to NCAA Division I’s East Carolina in 2017.
His final game as a Pirate came Saturday afternoon as East Carolina finished the season 4-8 with a 49-24 loss to Tulsa.
It was senior day at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium as Lawson and more than a dozen others were recognized before the game.
Lawson told the Daily Advance after the game that it felt like senior day came quickly for him.
The former all-conference Northeastern Eagle, now listed at 6-foot-5 and 303 pounds, redshirted his first year with ECU as a senior started in the position he aimed for.
Once 2018 came around, Lawson took over the role as the snapper for field goal and point-after attempts where he helped kicker Jake Verity make 19 of 21 field-goal attempts and 28 of 29 extra points.
ECU was 12th in the nation in field goals made per game with Lawson being responsible for snapping the ball.
Lawson pointed to one in particular as his favorite moment as a Pirate.
“When we won against Old Dominion with a final snap,” Lawson said.
In the final minute in a home game against Old Dominion, Lawson’s snap was good enough for Verity to hit a 38-yarder and give the ECU a 37-35 lead with less than 50 seconds left.
ECU held on for the win.
Lawson had a great two years at Georgia Military College as he earned a perfect accuracy rating his sophomore year in snapping for kicks and punts, but he noted he’s gotten even better since arriving in Greenville.
“Way improved,” Lawson said, noting the speed and accuracy of his snaps have gotten better.
While he enjoyed a successful redshirt-junior year in 2018, Lawson unfortunately didn’t get to see the field in his senior year.
It was the product of a coaching change made by East Carolina when they let go of head coach Scottie Montgomery after three seasons and hired Mike Houston before the start of the 2019 season.
Instead, senior Anthony Ratliff took on the role.
While Lawson was disappointed to not get a chance to snap the ball this season and especially on senior day, he mentioned that he still enjoyed his time as a part of the football program.
Not the least of which was the comfort of flying as opposed to riding the bus for every road game when he was at Georgia Military College.
“It was still a really good experience for me. I really learned a lot,” Lawson said.
With Saturday being his final collegiate game, Lawson will continue to work on his craft.
“I’ll be training and getting ready for my camps in Mobile, Alabama, and get ready for pro day here at East Carolina,” Lawson said.
ECU’s pro day will be some time in the spring.
David Lawson, Erik’s dad and current assistant coach at NHS, also mentioned the possibility of Erik breaking his own long snapping record around the time of pro day.
The long snapper set the Guinness World Record with a 39.96-yard snap in December 2017.