Even without Ross, Clemson’s offense has so much potential

Even without Ross, Clemson’s offense has so much potential

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Even without Ross, Clemson’s offense has so much potential

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As he heads into his junior season, the sky is the limit for Trevor Lawrence.

The Clemson quarterback is already considered by most to be the top prospect in next year’s NFL Draft, while also being one of the favorites to win the Heisman Trophy and ACC Player of the Year honors in 2020.

With the way he has played in his first two seasons at Clemson, leading the Tigers to the 2018 National Championship as a true freshman and then to a national runner-up finish in 2019, there is no reason to think Lawrence and the Tigers will not be back there again.

So far in his career, Lawrence is 25-1 as a starter and has thrown for 6,945 yards and 66 touchdowns. In just two seasons, he has already moved into fourth place on Clemson’s career passing list and he will likely pass Deshaun Watson and Charlie Whitehurst for second and third all time.

Lawrence has averaged 3,473 yards through the air in his first two seasons, including 3,665 last year when he was the starter for all 15 games. He needs 2,721 yards to pass Whitehurst for third place and 3,219 yards to pass Watson for second.

Catching Tajh Boyd’s 11,904 yards isn’t likely. Lawrence and Clemson will have to throw the ball at a record level for the junior to reach Boyd’s mark by the end of the year. He would need to throw for 4,960 yards to become Clemson’s all-time leader in passing yards.

To give you an idea of how difficult that is, Watson holds the single season record for passing yards at Clemson. The now Houston Texans quarterback threw for 4,593 yards in 2016, which is also the single season mark for the ACC. Watson averaged 306.2 yards per game.

Lawrence could have an opportunity to catch Boyd’s mark for touchdown passes. If he equals his first two seasons, then he will be sitting right at 100 career touchdowns. Boyd threw 107 touchdowns from 2010-’13. So, that record is within reach.

The good news for Lawrence is he will have a plethora of weapons to help him in 2020.

Back is record-breaking running back Travis Etienne. All he has done is rushed for a school record 4,038 yards in his career to go along with an ACC record 56 rushing touchdowns. His six receiving touchdowns give him 62 total touchdowns in his career, which is also an ACC record.

Though the Tigers lost star wide receiver Justyn Ross for the season, they still return Amari Rodgers to go along with up-and-comers like Joseph Ngata and Frank Landson. Four-year player, Cornell Powell also adds experience and depth to the unit.

However, Ross was a big loss. The junior caught 112 passes for 1,865 yards and 17 touchdowns in his first two seasons at Clemson, plus add the fact Clemson must also replace All-ACC receiver Tee Higgins and his 1,100 yards and 13 touchdowns from 2019. Higgins, of course, now plays for the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals.

Rodgers has recorded 104 receptions in his career for 1,124 yards and eight touchdowns.

The final piece of the offense is tight end Braden Galloway. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound target gives the Tigers a pass catcher they have not had at that position since Jordan Leggett in 2015 and 2016.

Add Etienne’s improved skills in the passing game, and Clemson still has more pass-catching weapons than it has ever had. Last year, Etienne quietly caught 37 passes for 432 yards and four touchdowns. Both his yards and catches ranked third on the team.

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