FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Snider High School graduate Lawrence Johnson is taking advantage of his extra year of eligibility due to the COVID pandemic – and he’s taking his game to the toughest conference in college football.

Johnson committed to Auburn University in January, and the defensive lineman will suit up for new head coach Hugh Freeze. Freeze takes over a traditionally strong program looking to bounce back after posting a 5-7 record last year.

Johnson, a three year starter at Purdue, helped the Boilermakers win the Big Ten West title last season. He graduated from Purdue last fall, earning his degree in Law & Society and was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection.

A six-foot-three, 310-pound defensive tackle, Johnson was a stalwart on the Purdue defensive line the past four seasons.

After graduating from Snider in 2018, Johnson redshirted the following fall at Purdue. In 2019 he played in all 12 games – including 9 starts – for the Boilermakers. In the COVID-shortened season of 2020 he played in all 6 games with 2 starts, then started all 13 games in 2021.

Following the 2021 season Johnson underwent hip surgery followed by shoulder surgery.

During the 2022 season with Purdue Johnson’s played in all 14 games, with 29 total tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and 1 forced fumble.

A two-time selection to the WANE-TV Fab 15 as a star at Snider, Johnson won the positional Mr. Football Award for defensive line as a senior for the Panthers as the top defensive lineman in the state of Indiana. Snider won the 5A state title Johnson’s sophomore year, beating New Palestine 64-61 at Lucas Oil Stadium in 2015.

Auburn opens the 2023 season at home against UMass on September 2.