Anyone who has seen Nashville Christian’s Brant Lawless on the basketball court knows the junior defensive tackle is more than just a big body.
In fact, when the 6-foot-3, 275-pounder was growing up, he rarely got down in a three-point stance on the football field.
“I was running the ball and scoring touchdowns,” Lawless said of his days playing for Nashville Christian’s middle school football team.
And while he’s put on a few pounds since then, Lawless, a four-star recruit and the state’s fifth-ranked prospect in the class of 2018 according to 247Sports, should have the opportunity to do just that this season as the 2015 Region 5-1A Defensive MVP once again will be lining up of offense — this time at tight end and fullback.
“In middle school, he was a running back and quarterback, a point guard and a third baseman,” Eagles football coach Jeff Brothers said. “He came to me in the offseason and said, ‘What do you think about me being able to run the ball and catch it a little bit?’”
“We’re excited not only about what he’s doing for us defensively, but offensively as well,” the seventh-year Nashville Christian coach added. “It’s cliché to say that the sky’s the limit, but there really are no boundaries to what he’s going to be able to become.
“I think his athleticism is going to be shocking to everybody else, but we’re ready to unveil that.”
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In addition to changing jersey numbers from 56 to 34, Lawless also shed close to 35 pounds this offseason to prepare for his added responsibilities
“I’ve lost a bunch of weight preparing to play both sides of the ball,” said Lawless, who has scholarship offers from Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, LSU and Tennessee, among others. “I’m running a lot more and working out a lot harder, but it’s something I’m happy to, stepping up and helping my team.”
Said senior teammate Slater Howard: “I’m just excited to see him hit some people on offense.”
Some may refer to the tight end and fullback positions as a glorified offensive linemen, especially at the high school level.
“He’s got great hands, he runs really well, runs great routes and he’s obviously a big target,” Brothers said. “You can drill it in there to him, and he’ll catch it. And to tackle that guy is going to be quite a challenge. It should be fun.”
Said Lawless: “I’m excited. It’s a new role they’ve put on me and a little bit more hard work I’m going to have to do, but I’m really looking forward to this season and stepping into that spot at tight end.”