When Oklahoma's Key Lawrence plays with grit, 'he's probably one of the best players on the team'

Senior Justin Broiles says the Sooners' transfer from Tennessee is "gonna be special"
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Teammates say they like what they’ve seen so far out of Tennessee transfer Key Lawrence.

And with the Sooners playing the annual spring scrimmage on Saturday, fans can finally get a chance to see it too.

“I mean, one thing I see that Keyshawn brings to our team is grit,” said senior safety Justin Broiles.

Lawrence, from Nashville, chose Tennessee over Oklahoma out of high school. But he always like the Sooners. After spending last season in Knoxville and then transferring to Norman, he’s had and endless stream of information coming at him — fast.

Lawrence was a 4-star recruit that Lincoln Riley and Alex Grinch wanted from the jump, but since he’s only just now picking up Grinch’s system and all that goes into being a transfer in major college football, the process, as expected, hasn’t been immediate for him.

“We’re still working to get him to bring that grit out every play,” Broiles said, “but when Key wants to turn it up and lock in, he can do that. And when he does that, he's probably one of the best players on the team. So that's the biggest thing.”

Key Lawrence

Key Lawrence

The 6-foot-1, 207-pound Lawrence can play either corner or either safety, but he might be slotted for duty at nickel. Jeremiah Criddell sounds like the starter for now, but 2020 junior college transfer Justin Harrington might end up there, and freshman Billy Bowman was ranked the No. 2 nickel back in the country in high school.

“It's a very big position inside of our defense,” Criddell said. “You have to know the entire defense. You have to be able to play man-to-man every single play. You have to be able be explosive, play strong, go to the post, make tackles ... you have to be able to do all inside the secondary. That's just kind of how you would want it. You want to be a versatile player and be able to make plays.”

Lawrence, still just a sophomore, has plenty of time to pick things up before September gets here. Broiles, for one, can’t wait to watch his growth continue.

“When I say grit, I mean just his mentality,” Broiles said. “The way you play the game, violent, his confidence in his play. Once we get him to bring that out every single down, every single play, every minute of the game, practice, workouts, whatever it is, he’s gonna be special. Special.”