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Teammates Siemian and Lawrence continue friendship at Northwestern

Updated: February 3, 2010, 11:29 AM ET
By Scott Powers | ESPNChicago.com

Olympia quarterback Trevor Siemian and wide receiver Rashad Lawrence never planned on attending the same college, especially one in the Midwest.

Not that they don't get along -- they have been friends since seventh grade -- but it never crossed their minds.

Each was focused on his own recruiting journey.

It was Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald's idea to put them on the same path. With Olympia (Orlando, Fla.) High School possessing a quarterback and wide receiver capable of playing in the Big Ten, it only made sense for the Wildcats to recruit them as a package.

"When Northwestern came down and saw both of them, we were in the middle of practice," Olympia coach Bob Head said. "Trevor was just lights out. Rashad was just on fire. We were doing basically a scrimmage in practice. Rashad runs a route across the middle and makes a catch. Trevor scrambles and throws to the back of the end zone, and Rashad makes a diving catch in the end zone.

"It's a no-brainer. It was just a great fit. They're both great football players."

First, Northwestern offered Siemian, a 6-foot-3, 194-pound quarterback, and then the wideout Lawrence (6-2, 185). Then Siemian visited Evanston and committed. Soon he began pitching Lawrence. It worked and Lawrence made his visit and committed as well.

The duo was set.

"Beforehand, we didn't really discuss it," Lawrence said. "We kind of joked about it. Once we both got offers, it kind of played out."

Siemian had an assortment of schools after him. They all saw the same potential with his size, football IQ and pass accuracy. As a senior, he was 180-for-270 for 2,331 yards and 22 touchdowns during the regular season.

Siemian was Olympia's starting varsity quarterback for three years in Head's shotgun spread offense, which has similarities to Northwestern's system.

"It's phenomenal how smart he is," Head said. "He's football smart, recognizes coverage, recognizes blitzes. He's become more of a complete player. His leadership is No. 1. No. 2 is his passing proficiency. He has the highest-ranked passing proficiency in 6A Orange County for the past year. He can really hit a target."

Lawrence knows. Often, he was the recipient of those passes.

"He knows exactly where to put the ball," Lawrence said. "He can move around the pocket. He's really smart with the ball. He knows what he's doing."

Of course, Siemian turned around and gave his wide receiver all the credit. Lawrence missed four games because of a collarbone injury and still finished the regular season with 40 receptions for 600 yards and four touchdowns.

"He's an awesome player," Siemian said. "He's one of the hardest workers I've seen in my life of the people I know. He's not cocky, but he carries himself well. You can tell he has confidence in himself when he's on the field or off."

Lawrence has ability, but it is that work ethic that Head always loved most about him, too.

"He has a passion for the game," Head said. "He wants to be great, and he works his butt off. He probably would have shattered every record if he had played all season. He's just so physical. He gets open. You can't jam him. His route running, he just wants to be perfect. He's a complete player."

With the duo leading the way, Olympia went 8-2, won the district championship for the first time and reached the playoffs for the second time ever. Head believes the duo will have the same impact at Northwestern.

"They are going to help Northwestern for sure, I'm telling you," Head said. "They're not going there to compete; they're going there to play. They're going there to win. They're very committed kids. They're working their butts off now."

The two are excited to continue on together. It will give them a chance to continue to play football together, but also remain close friends.

"Obviously, we're already on the same page," Lawrence said. "That's going to obviously keep going. Off the field, we'll have someone to talk to going into a new world. It definitely has some advantages."

Scott Powers covers high school and college sports for ESPNChicago.com and can be reached at preps@espnchicago.com.

Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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