Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

July 6, 2014

Lawrence Virgil working to make the Saints final roster

VALDOSTA — With college and the Valdosta State football team behind him, Brooks County’s own Lawrence Virgil is working hard to make a name for himself in the National Football League.

At 6-foot-5 and 295 pounds, Virgil is a defensive end/defensive tackle hybrid that has good speed and body movement, which caught the eyes of many NFL teams during pre-draft workouts.

At VSU, Virgil recorded 130 total tackles (29 for loss), 15.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and a safety in three seasons at defensive end.

During the draft weekend, Virgil and his family patiently awaited his name to be called. While Virgil did not hear his name before the draft concluded, his phone line was quickly contacted by a plethora of NFL teams.

The Chicago Bears, Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins and Indianapolis Colts called him with an opportunity to sign an undrafted free agent contract, but through long consideration, Virgil decided to take his chance with the New Orleans Saints.

“I wanted to get drafted, but I was blessed enough to get a chance to come into the league. I was happy to go to the Saints,” said Virgil. “I was checking all the defensive linemen on each team’s rosters and saw that the Saints may have needed some extra help so I chose them.”

After making his choice, Virgil began participating in the Saints rookie mini-camp on May 11 in Louisiana. Virgil took a few lessons he learned at Valdosta State with him.

“I learned to be responsible and to show up on time for everything. You have to show the coaches that they can trust you, and that is what I’ve tried to do,” said Virgil.

Working with the Saints, Virgil added a few pounds from his 287-pound college weight and has been working on numerous things with new coaches Sean Payton and defensive line coach Bill Johnson.

“Right now they want me to stay around 295 pounds,” said Virgil. “Mainly we’ve been working on techniques. Footwork, hand placement and how to get off a block. Johnson is very technical and he loves paying attention to detail.

“Payton is a good coach. He makes sure we all take care of each other. I don’t spend much time with him because he’s an offensive coach, but from what I see, he’s great.”

Most experts note a tremendous difference between the NFL and college, however Virgil stated he doesn’t see much difference.

“I can’t tell much difference outside of the face that everyone is bigger and stronger, and we haven’t even put on pads yet,” he said.

Being a rookie on an NFL team can be tough, but also beneficial, as working with veterans can teach players a lot.

“Cam Jordan is someone I’ve always thought was a good player and now I get to line up with him,” said Virgil. “The veterans are very helpful. They show us what we need to do to get better and kind of put us under their wings.”

A typical day for Virgil at OTAs included a lot of meetings in addition to position specific workouts.

“We wake up around 7 a.m. to eat, then we have special team meetings, followed by defensive meetings, then we go on the field to do a walk through, then we practice, and then we go lift, and end the day with another meeting,” said Virgil.

Virgil is not alone in his goal to make his time with the Saints official. Former teammate Seantavius Jones is also trying to make the cut and Virgil is thankful to have a familiar face in Louisiana with him.

“It benefits us a lot to both be there. We are competing with so many people to make the team, having someone you know like Jones is great because we can talk, hangout and help each other out. We were already teammates so we already have that bond,” said Virgil.

Virgil returns to training camp on July 25, when he and the rest of his Saints teammates will travel to West Virginia to begin camp.

1
Text Only
Local Sports
  • 150723-Lowndes_Brooks5.jpg Winding Down

    In its final 7-on-7 test of the summer, Randy McPherson was pleased with how the Lowndes football team looked Wednesday morning.
    Brooks County coach Maurice Freeman, on the other hand, was worried about the kind of hole the Trojans would have dug for themselves at Martin Stadium against the Vikings and Lafayette (Fla.) had it been a real game.

    July 24, 2014 3 Photos

  • Grable signs with Tampa Bay

    Another former Valdosta State football player joined the ranks of the National Football League when linebacker Jeremy Grable signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wednesday morning.

    July 23, 2014

  • MaryAlice.jpg Just Keep Running

    Forrest Gump once said, "I used to run to get to where I was going, but I never thought it would take me anywhere." In the case of 18 year-old Mary Alice Smoot, anywhere is Tampa, Fla.
    After four years of unparalleled success running cross-country at Valwood, Smoot will continue running competitively next season at the University of Tampa.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 10U ELITE World Series Champs.jpg DKSA Elite win USSSA Global World Series

    DKSA ELITE just continues to win, the 10U team’s latest victory came in the USSSA Global World Series held in Destin, Fla. July 8-12.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lowndes_McPherson.jpg Milestones on tap for upcoming season

    Some milestones are destined to occur, like when Georgia Christian hosts David Emanuel on Aug. 22 in the Generals’ first varsity football game since the late 1960s.
    Others will have to wait and see what continues to take shape come Friday when teams can begin fall practice, and especially Aug. 1 when teams can suit up in pads for the first time, such as can Valdosta win its record 24th state title, or can Lowndes capture its fourth state championship under Randy McPherson, or can Valwood and coach Ashley Henderson play in its third straight GISA state championship game?
    As we start to find out the answers to those questions in just a few short weeks — the regular season is just 31 days away — there should be a few more milestones for area coaches to mark 2014 right along with the Generals getting back on the gridiron.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • ACC_Jimbo.jpg Back on top

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • ACC_Petrino.jpg Petrino returns to Louisville for first ACC season

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Braves_Marlins JUpton.jpg Jones lifts Marlins past Braves in 10

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ant Smith.JPG Anthony Smith ready for new test in college

    Smith was a three-year starter as a Wildcat and quickly worked his way up as a leader on both the defense and the team as a whole.

    July 21, 2014 3 Photos

  • Wildcats participate in national 7-on-7 tournament

    The Valdosta High Wildcats have been working extremely hard this summer to prepare for the football season. Summer workouts and a plethora of 7-on-7 tournaments and competitions have kept the Wildcats busy.

    July 20, 2014

Blazers Blog
More