Stony Brook RB Ty Son Lawton ran for 1,088 yards and...

Stony Brook RB Ty Son Lawton ran for 1,088 yards and 10 touchdowns last season, leading the CAA at 98.9 yards per game. Credit: George A Faella

Of all the things that people know about Stony Brook running back Ty Son Lawton, there’s something that Chuck Priore still thinks needs to be said.

“He’s faster than you think,” the Stony Brook coach remarked after a preseason practice last week.

Although speed might not be the first thing that comes to mind when evaluating Stony Brook’s top player, a lot of other things do.

“He’s cerebral, he understands football,” Priore said of Lawton, who is the CAA Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. “Part of being a great running back is understanding where to deliver the ball after you get it and how the blocking schemes are, hopefully, going to work. Then he’s got talent. He runs with good pad level .  .  . He’s got a real good stab step and go, and he’s in physical shape to be able to give the beating to the other team.”

Those beatings — or at least what the Seawolves hope will be so — will begin Thursday night when the Seawolves open their season at home against Colonial Athletic Association foe Rhode Island.

If ever momentum can last months, Priore and company hope it does with this group. Twenty-five seniors return from a team that won four of its final five games last season to erase a disastrous start and finish 5-6 overall and 4-4 in the CAA.

Lawton, as the preseason accolade attests, is the offense’s main attraction. He rushed for 1,088 yards and 10 touchdowns on 216 carries last season and was the CAA’s top rusher at 98.9 yards per game. He had a 99-yard touchdown run in a win over Delaware.

“He doesn’t fly off the film with his speed, but he’s tricky quick,” graduate offensive lineman and East Islip native Kyle Nunez said. “When you get to game speed, he’s running by guys and it doesn’t even look like he’s sprinting. He could put his shoulder down and run through a guy or he could put his foot in the ground and go around him.”

Nunez also was selected to the CAA Preseason All-Conference team. Stony Brook was selected seventh out of 13 schools in the conference preseason poll. Villanova, which Stony Brook will not face in the regular season, was selected first.

Lawton, a 5-10, 215-pound redshirt senior out of Staten Island Curtis, is well aware of his reputation and laughed when asked about the perception of being a less-than-speedy running back. It’s also something he believes he’s changed.

When it comes to calling him slow, Lawton says, “Not so fast.”

“Everybody here knows that I had a problem with my running form,” he said. “I never knew how to pick my knees up and had very tight hips. This offseason, I worked on my hips, did a lot more stretching, and, as Coach said, I look [much] faster than last year.”

As Lawton tells it, he really didn’t know how to run, at least not as effectively as a running back should, until he got to Stony Brook.

“It was definitely something I was never taught,” he said. “I didn’t take high school football as [seriously] as I take it now. I didn’t do any of the extra stuff back in high school. I just played on Saturdays and did good on Saturdays.”

He still does good on Saturdays, but now he’s prepared to do better.

“It’s really trying to get to the next level, trying to get to the NFL,” he said. “I know if I don’t do any of the extra stuff outside of what we do here, then I’m not going to be as great as I want to be. I’m just trying to be great.”


Coach: Chuck Priore, 17th season, 95-82 overall at Stony Brook

2021: (5-6, 4-4, 8th in CAA)

On offense: Ty Son Lawton, RB, RS-Sr – The CAA Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, rushed for 1,088 yards and 10 touchdowns last season.

Shawn Harris Jr, WR, RS-JR – Harris Jr. was the Seawolves leading reciever last season, catching 31 passes for 586 yards and three touchdowns.

On defense: Tyler King, LB, RS-So. – Led the team in tackles with 95 and tackles for loss with 12.5. Was named to the CAA Preseason All-Conference team.

Reidgee Dimanche, LB, Grad – Entering sixth college season. He’s a fast defender that was second on the team in tackles with 79, including 5.5 for a loss. 

Stony Brook schedule

Sept. 1 Rhode Island, 7 p.m.

Sept 17 at UMass, TBA

Sept. 24 at Richmond, 2 p.m.

Oct 1 William & Mary, 3:30 p.m.

Oct. 8 at New Hampshire, 3:30 p.m.

Oct. 15 at Fordham 6 p.m.

Oct 22 Maine 3:30 p.m. *homecoming

Oct. 29 at Albany 1 p.m.

Nov. 5 Morgan State 1 p.m.

Nov. 12 Towson 1 p.m.

Nov. 19 at Monmouth 12 p.m.

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