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Despite torn ACL, Arizona State football recruit remains positive

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Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014

By Mark Mingura


MARK MINGURA/CRONKITE NEWS: Malik Lawal’s football aspirations came to a screeching halt once the Chaparral defensive end tore his ACL last spring during a track meet. After being recruited by multiple Division 1 teams before the injury, Lawal wasn’t sure how schools would react to the injury.

MALIK LAWAL/CHAPARRAL HIGH SCHOOL DEFENSIVE END: When I was talking to doctors the way they were putting it, be careful with colleges because this might deter a lot of colleges and just the fact that this is a serious injury of how big ACL is, to some people this is a career-ending injury.

MARK MINGURA/CRONKITE NEWS: While some programs still kept in touch with Lawal after the injury there was one university in particular passionate in their pursuit – Arizona State.

MALIK LAWAL/CHAPARRAL HIGH SCHOOL DEFENSIVE END: I had a call with Coach Patterson, the linebackers coach over at ASU, and me and him were on the phone for a good 15 to 30 minutes, and he just said no matter what happens ASU will have your back.

MARK MINGURA/CRONKITE NEWS: When Arizona State heard that Lawal had torn his ACL, they got creative with their recruiting by comparing Lawal to all-time ASU great Terrell Suggs.

MALIK LAWAL/CHAPARRAL HIGH SCHOOL DEFENSIVE END: I was ecstatic, it was just so cool to have someone just think so highly of me and be compared to someone who had one of the greatest careers in the NFL.

MARK MINGURA/CRONKITE NEWS: Lawal has all the physical and mental tools to be a force in the PAC-12 and his high school coach believes he will take advantage of his opportunity.

RYAN TUKUA/ CHAPARRAL HIGH SHCOOL HEAD COACH: It’s a bummer he’s probably not going to play with us this year, but his future is bright. He’s got a 3.9 GPA, he’s very well-spoken and I know Arizona State is extremely excited to have him there.

MARK MINGURA/CRONKITE NEWS: Football isn’t the only reason Lawal was attracted to ASU. A quality education is very important to Lawal’s goals in life and ASU boasts the Barrett Honors College, one of the finest of its kind in the nation.

MALIK LAWAL/CHAPARRAL HIGH SCHOOL DEFENSIVE END: When football is over it comes down to what are you gonna do with your life. Just seeing my mom, how she worked to go to many colleges just to get where she’s at in life now, being a single mother of three, education means the most to her so it means the most to us, too.

MARK MINGURA/CRONKITE NEWS: Lawal won’t take the field with his team this year but he still plans the help the Pumas win as a player-coach.

MALIK LAWAL/CHAPARRAL HIGH SCHOOL DEFENSIVE END: Everybody needs a little hype once in awhile so I just give someone a little magic touch. I feel like my hands have the magic touch, shake my hand right before something happens, you going to make plays.

MARK MINGURA/CRONKITE NEWS: Last year Malik had 18 tackles for losses to lead Chaparral. This season, there won’t be any. But what he will gain is the strength to overcome a huge obstacle in his life, one that he has never faced before.