There’s no doubting Dillan Lawson’s athletic abilities.

At 6-4, 215 pounds, the Florida commit has the speed to run the 40-yard dash in 4.51 seconds and the strength to dead lift 535 pounds and bench 365. UF coach Will Muschamp told Crestview high school coach Kevin Pettis that Lawson was the best linebacker he evaluated on film this year.

And although Lawson might have things figured out on the football field, he recently learned — the hard way — that even the most talented athletes can’t play unless they’re good students, too.

Poor grades caused Lawson to transfer to an alternative school (Okaloosa Youth Academy) in early May and he is currently not a member of the Crestview football team, which won its spring game 12-7 over Niceville Thursday night.

“After our first week of practice,” coach Pettis said Friday, “we sent him to an alternative school here in the county just so he can get his credits caught up and get where he needs to be academically.”

According to Pettis, Lawson could have remained at Crestview and participated in spring football. But he switched schools so he could improve his chances of qualifying at Florida.

“He’s eligible for high school, that isn’t the problem,” said Pettis, who expects Lawson back at Crestview in the fall. “We’re just trying get his courses done so that he can be academically eligible for the University of Florida.”

Pettis said the UF coaches are still honoring Lawson’s commitment and will work with his teachers and guidance counselors to help him get back on track.

“They’re very concerned about his academics,” Pettis said. “Florida is just kind of waiting to see how he improves. But he still has his offer and he’s still committed to the Gators.”

Ever since Lawson left Crestview, more off-the-field issues have started surfacing that suggest his troubles stretch beyond the classroom. Pettis said other than an arrest for fighting, Lawson hasn’t had any problems in the past.

“No truth whatsoever,” Pettis said in response to rumors about Lawson’s bad behavior. “He got into a fight last year. Just a regular, normal fight. The other kid that he fought, that kid’s parents pressed charges. But they were mutual combatants and you usually don’t see someone get arrested when that’s the case. He’s a good kid, he just needs to get his grades up.”

Photo taken from Crestview’s website

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