Hometown: Norfolk, Va
High School: Maury HS
Stephen Lawe was rated a 2 star OL by Rivals and a 3 star OT by ESPN. He was not rated by Scout. He was recruited by Memphis, Louisville and most of the ACC. Coming out of Norfolk, it was thought that he could play either OL or DL, but as a recruit, most teams looked at him on the OL.
However, when he arrived at Virginia, he was slotted at DE and has stayed there, now entering his 4th year in the program. In 3 seasons, Lawe has not yet seen action in a game (he has also dealt with some lower body injuries, something he also had in high school). He currently sits 3rd on the depth at strong-side DE, behind Jake Snyder and Mike Moore. The fact that Moore has passed him on the depth is not promising for Lawe's prospects this year.
Many of the Hoos DEs are on the smaller side (Eli Harold is just 225 pounds, for example), so Lawe could get some playing time against running teams. He also could see some time on the inside at DT, where the Hoos do not have a lot of depth (although there is some depth in the incoming freshman class).
When Lawe first came in, some people saw him as an OT. One reason he was not slotted there was the presence of Oday Aboushi and Morgan Moses. There didn't seem to be a place for him there, so he was moved to defense, where he looked to have a quicker route to the field. It hasn't worked out.
If Lawe is unable to make an impact on the field this year, he is unlikely to be back for a 5th year. It would be a disappointing end to what could've been an interesting career if it had played out differently.