Rashad Lawrence, Northwestern Wildcats football, No. 17

David Banks

Rashad Lawrence has a damn good hookup with former high school teammate Trevor Siemian, making him a big part of Northwestern's passing game.

Sorry guys, I've been busy. I missed Christian Salem -- sorry, Christian, join Mike Panico amongst the unloved walk-ons -- and missed Rashad Lawrence yesterday, but we do not have work today so we are catching up. First we'll hit Rashad, then Davion Fleming, then do all the other stuff that we want to do here at Sippin' on Purple because we like covering Northwestern football and plan on doing a damn good job of it.

Origin myth

Lawrence comes from Orlando, where he went to Olympia, alma mater of Chris Johnson and, hey, wouldn't you know it, Trevor Siemian! The two made a one-two passing punch with Lawrence snagging 113 passes for 1,352 yards over the course of his career. (No year-to-year stats given, for whatever reason.) That ranked him as the No. 64 receiver in the country, a three-star prospect with a few interesting offers. He got hit up by the standard nerd schools -- Stanford, Duke --- but also Purdue, East Carolina, and some in-state schools like South Florida, UCF, and FIU. He chose Northwestern June before his senior year, about a week after Trev made his choice.

At Northwestern

Lawrence earned playing time as a true freshman and has seen legitimate action for all three of his seasons at NU, but he's only reeled in one touchdown. He made a big impression in his second game with an acrobatic 50-yard catch against Illinois State, and followed that up with a 44-yarder against Michigan State a few weeks later, with those two catches accounting for over half the yardage in a 19-catch season. He'd bump that up to 19 catches as a sophomore, with his first TD, and had 34 catches -- second on the team -- this past year.

Career highlight

Northwestern didn't have much of a gameplan against Iowa in 2011 -- gave up like, seventeen huge passing touchdowns, and randomly cycled in three quarterbacks -- and thus needed Trevor Siemian late in the game to try to make plays Dan Persa and Kain Colter couldn't. On his only drive, he lofted a pretty pass to Lawrence for a 35-yard score. It was a late grasp for air in an ugly loss, but the symbolism was there: a freshman and sophomore who played together in high school connecting for a big play. It seemed like a glimpse at the future. (The other option was a big 34-yard catch on 3rd-and-15 against Vandy, also from Siemian, but that wasn't for a touchdown, and, well, was probably an incompletion -- Lawrence had the ball jarred loose after a few steps but it was ruled a fumble out of bounds for a first down.)

Anagram of choice

Discovering the Wildcats' true inner selves through spelling

Rashad Lawrence, anagrammed, is

CALENDAR REWASH

Doesn't really mean anything, with regards to Lawrence or otherwise, but just a reminder that college football season's calendar rewashes in but two weeks. (Also considered: "Clean hardwares," because Lawrence is apparently very hygienic.)

Relevant musical selection

"The City," Rashad and Confidence

So this is less the result of my catalog of musical obsession and more the result of some hyperactive googling, but I'm glad it happened. I know literally nothing about these guys, except that this joint that came in in 2011 sounds more like a song from 1995, which is pretty much the nicest thing I can say about any rap coming out. The production is incredible and the flow is fine. Gonna bump some of these guys' other songs as I write stuff today.

How he can help

Rashad's already established himself as a big factor in Northwestern's passing game, starting last year as the "Z" receiver, which is the split end -- the guy who plays on the line of scrimmage furthest from the quarterback. He's a solid route-runner, a decent target at 6'1, and although he isn't insanely fast, has proven his consistency and has a knack for getting open. But perhaps his best asset is his age-old rhythm with Trevor Siemian. T-Siems will play, he will throw, and when he does, Lawrence is one of the people to watch for. I generally try to analyze things more than "these two guys go all the way back!" but in this case, there does appear to be some psychic stuff going on, like they have ESPN or something.

Depth chart projection

Not gonna bump him from his starting gig, so we still got him first-stringin.

More from Sippin' On Purple:

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