By K.D. Drummond
DeMarcus Lawrence traveled a long way to get to his current pedestal, but he’s far from satisfied. The highest-paid player in Dallas Cowboys history hails from a small South Carolina town named New Ellenton, invented in the 1950s because the U.S. president wanted to use the original Ellenton to build up a nuclear arsenal.
His environment forged him the nickname of Tank, not from any military presence, but according to the player himself (via Dallas Morning News), from the toughness he needed to display to take on the older kids in the tiny population-2,000 town. That toughness had him go from a smaller tight end at famed and competitive Silver Bluff High School to a lightly recruited, 6-foot-2 defensive end his junior and senior seasons.
“Tough is the only way to grow up where I come from,” said Lawrence, a month before the 2014 NFL draft. “I had to fight for everything from the time I was born . . .”
DeMarcus said he fought back because he had no choice. His world was watching for any sign of weakness. The older boy clamped DeMarcus in a front headlock and repeatedly pounded his head. But he wouldn’t...