When he watches Trevor Lawrence on film, Nick Saban does not see a freshman. Instead, he sees a quarterback that has a lot of poise and does a really good job of executing Clemson’s offense.
Lawrence has done a well enough job that the true freshman has guided No. 2 Clemson back to the College Football Playoff National Championship Game where it will play the top-ranked Crimson Tide next Monday in Santa Clara, Calif.
“He’s very instinctive in terms of making the reads that he needs to make and doesn’t make a lot of mistakes in terms of where he wants to throw the ball, and he’s got a great arm and he’s very accurate,” Saban said.
Lawrence was named the offensive Most Valuable Player in the Cotton Bowl Classic last week as he shredded No. 3 Notre Dame for 327 yards and three touchdowns, while completing 27-of-36 passes in a 30-3 victory.
“He’s also done a good job of taking what the defense gives in terms of making a read sometimes,” Saban said. “They have great balance, so their ability to run and throw I think is what makes them effective, and he certainly does a great job of executing it for them.”
Clemson (14-0) is averaging close to 50 points and 550 yards per game with Lawrence at the helm. He has already shattered several of Deshaun Watson’s freshman records at Clemson and last week’s win over the Irish was his 10th as a starting quarterback, the most by any freshman quarterback in Clemson history.
Saban first saw Lawrence play as a sophomore in high school and he said there was no question, even then, that he was going to be one of the best players in the country at his position.
“He certainly is that,” the Alabama coach said. “He had a great high school career, and again, we tried to recruit him here, as well, and things have worked out well for him in terms of the position that he’s in and the job that he’s done for them.
“We know he’s a fine young man and really a great competitor. He’s certainly proven that over the course of this season.”
Lawrence is just the third Clemson quarterback to take the Tigers to the national championship game, joining Clemson greats Homer Jordan and Watson. Jordan was a junior when he led Clemson to the 1981 National Championship, while Watson was a sophomore when he led the Tigers to the 2015 title game before winning it all as a junior in 2016.
So far this year, the freshman has thrown for 2,933 yards while completing 65.5 percent of his passes on 365 attempts. He has 27 touchdowns to just four interceptions.
Lawrence has thrown 137 consecutive pass attempts without an interception. His most recent interception came on his final pass attempt at Boston College on Nov. 10. His also went 136 attempts earlier this season without an interception, and he is now in striking distance of Cullen Harper’s single-season school record of 143 in 2007.