Trevor Lawrence is not worried about what’s next because there is no guarantee that there is anything. Instead, Clemson’s freshman quarterback is just taking it all in as the second-ranked Tigers continue their journey through the 2018 season.
The Tigers’ next stop is the Cotton Bowl as part of the College Football Playoff where they will play No. 3 Notre Dame in one of the two semifinal games. A victory and they will play the winner of the Orange Bowl matchup between Alabama and Oklahoma for the national championship.
A loss, and the season over.
“I don’t want to think about what will come after this,” Lawrence said. “I just want to enjoy the moment and enjoy having this chance. We have a lot of seniors that have helped me a ton. We built a relationship. I’m just excited to lay everything out on the line for those guys and give it my all for them.”
Clemson (13-0) hopes Lawrence is the guy that gets it over the top this year in the CFP. Though they made it to the playoff last year under former quarterback Kelly Bryant, they struggled to get the ball downfield in a loss to Alabama.
Lawrence, who became the starter for the Tigers in Week 4, seems to be a difference maker so far for Clemson. No longer can teams load up the box and dare the Tigers to win it throwing the football.
The freshman has brought balance to an offense that is averaging 50 points and 540 yards a game since their 60-point win over Wake Forest in Game 6.
Clemson is averaging 270 yards passing and 260 yards on the ground overall.
“In high school, I’ve played since I was a freshman so from then on, I grew up and I learned how to be a leader on that stage,” Lawrence said. “Obviously, it is different going to college. You have a lot going on, plus you are going up against 23-year old guys and I was 18 coming in, so it is a little bit different. But still, they are the same principals.
“Earning their respect and trust was a big thing, but once you get their trust that helps a lot.”
Lawrence gained his team’s trust by doing some amazing things, while showing off his maturity at the same time. He does things stats don’t always show. Like throwing the ball from the left ash 40 yards to the field side by the boundary. Throwing his receivers open instead of waiting until they get open, while also calling the protections and picking up complicated defensive schemes and coverages.
The true freshman comes into the Cotton Bowl, which will be played on Dec. 29, completing 65 percent of his 326 passing attempts for 2,606 yards and 24 touchdowns. The most impressive stat, he has thrown just four interceptions.
Knowing Clemson is just four quarters away from playing for a third national championship in four seasons, Lawrence wants to do all he can to give seniors like Mitch Hyatt, Justin Falcinelli, Hunter Renfrow, Christian Wilkins and Kendall Joseph one last opportunity to win a national championship.
“They know every level of this thing. They have been through a lot. They know what it feels like to win it all,” Lawrence said. “They know what it feels like to lose and to be close. They have been through it. Through their experiences, they are just great leaders on and off the field because they have been through so much.”