After graduating from Winnfield Senior High School in his native Winnfield, Louisiana right-hander Justin Lawson attended Bossier Parish Community College, a junior college in Bossier City, Louisiana. His first season with the Cavaliers was uneventful, as the COVID-19 pandemic limited his time on the mound. The right-hander appeared in 5 games and logged 20.1 innings, posting a 3.54 ERA with 7 hits allowed, 14 walks, and 26 strikeouts. Appearing in 11 games in 2021, Lawson posted a 7.98 ERA in 44.0 innings, allowing 41 hits, walking 35, and striking out 70.
After the 2021 season, the right-hander went undrafted and transferred to North Carolina State University, where he made 19 appearances, including two starts, with the Pack. Throwing 37.2 innings, Lawson posted a 3.82 ERA, allowing 37 hits, walking 18, and striking out 41. He once again went undrafted, this time in the 2022 MLB Draft, and returned to NC State. Serving as closer, the 22-year-old was an integral part of the Wolfpack. Appearing in 27 games, Lawson pitched 52.1 innings, posting a 3.27 ERA with 57 hits allowed, 17 walks, and a career-high 67 strikeouts.
The right-hander throws from a low-three-quarter arm slot with simple, repeatable mechanics. His fastball sits in the low-to-mid-90s, and he complements it primarily with a sharp, late-biting slider that sits in the low-to-mid-80s.