Zeiqui Lawton is Coming Home
Since his arrival, Head Coach Neal Brown made it a priority to renew the Mountaineers’ focus on keeping West Virginia talent at home. Last season, unfortunately, Brown lost out on Zeiqui Lawton. The second-highest rated West Virginia recruit in the Class of 2021 (behind only Wyatt Milum), Lawton signed with Cincinnati. After a single season, however, Lawton entered the transfer portal. Brown seized the opportunity early. After taking an official visit the weekend of December 11, Lawton decided to join the fray in Morgantown. Now it is official, we can report that Lawton is coming home.
Engaging Defensive End
Lawton offers good size on the defensive end at six feet, three inches, and 240 pounds. He offers good speed and quickness at the position. He shuffles his feet well and uses that to both engage quickly and disengage efficiently. A natural athlete, Lawton also offers a strong football IQ. That becomes evident when you watch how disciplined he can be at maintaining gaps on the line.
While he shows best on film at stuffing the run, rarely missing a ball carrier within his long-range, Lawton certainly has the strength, footwork, and quickness to explode off the edge. Dealing with a few losses on the edge to graduation and the transfer portal, Lawton fills a big need for the Mountaineers. With one year of FBS experience under his belt, Lawton may still take some time to see the field. That said, we do not expect it to be a long wait at all.
Brown Using the Portal to His Advantage
In prior years, Coach Brown expressed reluctance to rely too heavily on the transfer portal to fill needs. That said, with the NCAA granting a one-year exception to the annual scholarship cap of 25, Brown has little choice but to rely on it more heavily this year. With four years of eligibility remaining, Lawton certainly represents a no-brainer addition to the squad. That said, we expect Brown to add as many as eight to ten players through the transfer portal this year. After Lyn-J Dixon, Lawton represents the second addition from the FBS ranks.