There is a reason why Trevor Lawrence sits No. 2 on Clemson’s preseason depth chart and there is a reason why he will challenge Kelly Bryant for the starting job when fall camp begins in August. The reason … the kid can play.
Clemson fans saw that when the nation’s former No. 1 player was dropping dimes in the arms of Tee Higgins and Braden Galloway in the spring game back in April. He also showed off his ability to feel and avoid pressure in the pocket. He even showed off his ability to escape pressure and keep plays alive with his legs.
“The most pleasing thing about Trevor is his natural instincts and his ability to extend pays, and his ability to run and escape and create,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said.
Lawrence’s demeanor also stands out. Co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said that is the one thing they noticed right off the bat about him. He stays the same whether he makes a big play or makes a mistake. He is not allowing either to affect the next play.
“The way that ya’ll see him every day, that is the same way he is in the pocket,” Elliott said. “He has just a natural pocket presence that you just can’t coach. The special ones, they have that.”
Despite the hype and what he has already shown in practice and in the spring game, the freshman still has a lot to learn. He has only been in school at Clemson since January and he is still learning the nuances of the offense.
“From a tempo standpoint, he is still trying to learn the drive and that is the thing we really challenge all of the quarterbacks,” Elliott said. “Quarterbacks drive the tempo. So as soon as the play is over and the whistle is blown, you already have your eyes to the side and you are herding the cattle in the direction to get back on the ball.”
Lawrence will try to show how much he has improved in those areas once the Tigers reconvene for fall practice in August. Clemson opens the 2018 season on Sept. 1 vs. Furman at Death Valley.