Competitors between the white lines but supporters off of the field. That’s the relationship Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence has with Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
The two have similar stories. Both starting as backups at their respective schools before eventually winning the job over proven winners in Kelly Bryant and Jalen Hurts.
As a freshman Tagovailoa helped the Crimson Tide to a national championship. A year later, Lawrence became the first freshman since 1985 to lead a team to a national championship.
But this has been a difficult season for Tagovailoa. After suffering a high-ankle sprain in October against Tennessee, he underwent surgery and quickly took the field again in a loss to LSU on Nov.9. It’s a surgery that typically requires months of recovery so to see him right back out of the field stunned many.
As the weeks have gone on the ankle has still been of concern, but that would end up being nothing compared to the injury Tagovailoa suffered in Saturday’s game against Ole Miss.
Late in the first half, he suffered a dislocated hip and was immediately rushed to a medical center in Birmingham, Alabama. On Monday morning he underwent successful hip surgery in Houston. Although he is expected to make a full recovery, he will be out for the rest of the season.
Lawrence gave his thoughts on the situation and expressed his concern for Tagovailoa.
“I hate it for him,” Lawrence said. “I met him over the summer and I wouldn’t say we’re super close but we are definitely friends. I send him a text every now and then, so I shot him a text when I saw it. Just praying for him and his family.
“It’s just a hard situation because I see what Coach (Nick) Saban is trying to do. It’s still the second quarter trying to get some reps. So I understand it but it’s also unfortunate and sucks that happened. I’m definitely praying for him and hate it for him and the whole program.”
Tagovailoa was injured on what would’ve been his last series of the game. He was continuing to get in a few more reps in a real-game situation before halftime of the Tide’s 38-7 win over Mississippi State.
As bad as Lawrence feels for Tagovailoa, he knows this is a game where an injury is bound to happen at any given moment.
“I think the biggest thing is to enjoy and appreciate every moment because you never know when something can happen,” Lawrence said. “It’s obviously a violent game and you just never know. Anything can happen at any given moment. So just appreciate everything and enjoy it.”
As Lawrence and the rest of the Tigers prepare for the final regular season game of the season, he says thankfully he has never suffered a serious injury during his football career. But he feels for Tagovailoa and what he’s going through right now. They may be competitors on the field but he will always have his back off of it.
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