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NFL Draft: The Long Shot

 With no assurance of NFL riches, Ivy Leaguer Nate Lawrie keeps hitting the books

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By Kevin Tran

si_oncampus_logo_v1.gif 
  Nate Lawrie
Ivy leaguer Lawrie has his eyes on one of two prizes: a job with an NFL team or, failing that, law school.
Bob Child/AP Photo

With its crippling effect on willpower, work ethic and punctuality, senioritis transforms an otherwise dedicated student into the prototypical slacker. Noon becomes the new morning; classes and homework exist as an afterthought; and a D stands for diploma. Senioritis appears at different times for each student, but it inevitably arrives with the force of a hurricane, leaving shattered ambition in its wake. And yet here is Nate Lawrie, though five or 10 minutes late, still running into class ready for another day of lectures and note-taking.

As a football player who is not assured NFL riches, Lawrie has not been able to focus all his energy on the upcoming draft. While many top prospects drop out of school to train full-time, Lawrie continues to plan for a future without football, one that will probably include law school. "I made a commitment to both school and training while at Yale," says the 6'6", 256-pound Lawrie. "In this semester, though, I knew I couldn't be as committed to my schoolwork as I had been in the past. But I've been able to do well." Although Lawrie finished his senior thesis and fulfilled every requirement for his political science degree last semester, he still maintains a heavy course load with five lecture classes.

Schoolwork, though, only illustrates one facet of Lawrie's life. Each day is one step closer to potentially realizing his boyhood dream of playing in the NFL. After setting a school record for receptions by a tight end (72), Lawrie started to show up on NFL scouts' radar. He earned Division I-AA first-team All-America honors and secured invites to the Blue-Gray and Las Vegas All-America all-star games. In these showcases he proved to scouts -- and most important, to himself -- that he could compete at the next level. However, persuading a team to spend a pick on him in the draft is an entirely different issue. Yale is not exactly renowned as a football factory; only two Bulldogs have been selected in the last 21 years.

Lawrie embarked on a rigorous training regimen immediately after the football season. During the first month of the second semester, he traveled between New Haven and his hometown of Indianapolis to work out at a training facility in preparation for Yale's pro day on Feb. 20. Now a similar schedule awaits him at Yale: one hour of running drills with the Yale track team's sprints coach at 8 a.m., followed by 30 minutes of receiving drills with quarterback Alvin Cowan. Lawrie then attends classes and does schoolwork before returning to the gym at 4 p.m. A thrower on Yale's track and field team, Lawrie will practice for an hour before hitting the weight room for lifting and strength drills until 7 p.m., followed by dinner and more class work.

"I love being busy and using everything I've done to meet a variety of people," Lawrie says. "I've found it extremely rewarding."

Issue date: April 15, 2004

SI On Campus: April 15, 2004 issue 
SI ON CAMPUS

Sports Illustrated On Campus, a new magazine covering college sports and collegiate lifestyles, is available as an insert in 72 major college newspapers across the country every Thursday throughout the school year. Click any of the links below to see selected content from the latest issue, or click here to get the entire issue in digital format.

NFL Draft:
     The Sure Thing: Ben Roethlisberger
     The Tweener: Madieu Williams
     The Long Shot: Nate Lawrie
Road Trip: Maryland-Hopkins Lacrosse
Previous issue: April 8, 2004
 

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