When Trevor Lawrence was deciding on which college he wanted to attend and play football for, he did what any responsible young man or woman would do.
He had an idea what he was looking for in a school. He had an idea what he was looking for in their football program. He had an idea of what he was looking for in a football coach.
Clemson checked all of those boxes for Lawrence.
“I think that’s the cool thing, to be a part of a program like this,” the Clemson quarterback said recently. “I don’t think anyone can deny that when you look at Clemson, there’s just something different. You might not be able to explain it, but there’s just something different.”
As everyone knows, Lawrence had his pick of schools coming out of Cartersville High School in Georgia. Clemson, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, you name it, they all wanted him. He was not just the No. 1 quarterback coming out of high school in 2018, but he was the No. 1 overall recruit.
Before Lawrence, Clemson had never signed the nation’s top recruit. But as the former 5-star said, there was just something special about Clemson.
A big part of what made Clemson different in Lawrence’s view, and it is something you hear from a lot of Clemson players, is its head coach. Most players seem to gravitate towards Dabo Swinney. Maybe it’s because of his Christian faith, maybe it’s due to his geniality or maybe it’s because of his back story.
Whatever it is, Swinney’s players relate to him and to Clemson, and that perfect combination has allowed him to build one of the dominant programs in college football.
“I think it’s cool how he’s built this program, and he’s done it his own way,” Lawrence said. “He doesn’t try to copy what anyone else has done. He’s willing to do it the right way, and it took some time, but I feel like now that we’re here, you see how it lasts when you build a program the right way.”
By building it the right way, Clemson has won two of the last three national championships, beating Alabama twice in both instances. The Tigers have played for the national championship three times in the last four years and have earned a spot in the College Football Playoff all four years.
This past season, with Lawrence leading the way, Clemson became the first 15-0 team in the modern era of college football and the first team do it since 1897.
In the last eight seasons under Swinney, Clemson is 97-15 (.866) overall. It has won five ACC Championships, including the last four, seven Atlantic Division Championships and has beat college football powers such as Oklahoma, Ohio State, Notre Dame, LSU and Alabama in bowl games.
Lawrence, who has lived up to his billing, just helped the Tigers win their second national championship in three seasons last month, by throwing for 347 yards and three touchdowns in a 44-16 win over Alabama.
“Just the way (Swinney’s) done it and the leadership he’s had over everyone involved has been awesome,” Lawrence said.
Clemson begins spring practice next week.
Move over Alabama, Clemson is the new King of College Football. In our new magazine “Little Ole Clemson”: The Best “Little” Dynasty Ever, we examine not just the 2018 team’s run to being “the best ever” but examine the last four seasons and how Dabo Swinney turned Clemson into the new dynasty of college football. We also take a look at the role former athletic director Terry Don Phillips played. We go behind the scenes at the Tigers’ run to a second national championship in three seasons and the previous three national championship runs. It also features stories on the Power Rangers, the 2018 senior class, high quality photos and much, much more.
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