Freshman QB showed why he has a chance to be Clemson’s starter
Let’s be honest. The majority of the estimated 55,000 fans that showed up for the Orange & White Game Saturday at Death Valley where coming to see Trevor Lawrence.
After all, he was the No. 1 ranked overall player in the country in the 2018 recruiting class. Lawrence did not disappoint them either.
On his second pass, the Cartersville, Ga., native launched a bomb down the far sideline for a 50-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Tee Higgins.
“He was really impressive,” Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell said. “To see him go out there and have success, and also a guy like Tee Higgins have success with him, that was really, really nice to see.”
Lawrence finished the afternoon completing 11-of-16 passes for 122 yards. Two of the five incompletions were moments when he felt pressure and did not see an open receiver so he threw the ball away.
He also completed a 23-yard pass to Cannon Smith on a check down the play before hitting Higgins for a touchdown, and on another occasion, when he felt pressure coming from his blindside, he rolled left to avoid the sack and hit Amari Rodgers for a 23-yard gain along the sideline.
“It just shows that he sees the big picture, that he’s in command of the offense and that obviously he has that confidence to rip it into tight windows,” Clemson co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said. “But also he understands that managing the game is just as important. So he’s going to take his chances when they’re there, then he’s also going to make sure that he moves the offense efficiently down the field.”
Lawrence’s numbers might have been even better had the officials not ruled him down on a couple of long throws. Because the quarterbacks were not live and were ruled down when they were touched, the freshman was not credited with completing another bomb to Higgins or a long pass to freshman tight end Braden Galloway.
“People think it was easy when Trevor came in, but he had a lot of struggles and some days he did not have good practices. He had some days when he threw some picks, but it was really good to see him go out there and perform on the big stage,” Ferrell said. “I was really impressed. I know with his personality, he is the type of guy not to get too excited or too into the moment. It is not too big for him and he is the type of guy that is not going to hold on to any mistakes. He has a very short memory.”
Co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott enjoyed watching Lawrence throw the ball as well, even on the ones he missed.
“It was fun watching him,” the Clemson coach said. “I have not seen many people overthrow Tee Higgins. That was pretty impressive that he can launch it out there.
“The thing I wanted to see out of our quarterbacks and wide receivers was if we could connect down field because obviously that was a big focus for us this spring.”
With Lawrence playing quarterback that does not appear to be a problem and that is exactly what the fans came to see.