Most of the quarterback news coming out of Clemson’s camp has been about the battle going on between backups Taisun Phommachanh and D.J. Uiagalelei.
Right now, the battle between the two freshmen is neck-and-neck in their competition with three weeks to go before the Tigers travel to Winston-Salem, N.C., to take on Wake Forest in the season opener on Sept. 12.
But little is said about the kind of camp starter Trevor Lawrence has had. Maybe that is to be expected from a guy who is considered by most to be the top pick in next year’s NFL Draft and is the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy this coming season.
However, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney says the All-ACC quarterback continues to wow everyone in practice.
“I will tell you what, it is just a joy to watch that No. 16 practice,” Swinney said about his veteran quarterback. “It is unbelievable. He is just at a whole other level.”
Swinney’s words might sound scary for opposing defensive coordinators. Lawrence has already proven he is one of the best quarterbacks to ever put on the orange and white, and to hear he is taken things to another level can be downright terrifying to them.
In his two years at Clemson, Lawrence has thrown for 6,945 yards with 66 touchdowns against just 12 interceptions. In all, he has played in 30 games. Last year, he earned First-Team All-ACC honors, while throwing for 3,665 yards with 36 touchdowns and just eight interceptions. He also rushed for 563 yards and scored nine touchdowns on the ground.
Lawrence did not throw an interception in the last eight games, ending the season with 239 consecutive passes thrown without an interception, breaking his own Clemson record.
“Been there done that, just so confident in who he is and confident in everything about the game,” Swinney said. “Whether it is his protections, his teammates, what he can and can’t do. Just complete ownership of our offense and he is so disciplined post snap.
“It is just a joy to really watch him play.”
The projected top pick in the 2021 NFL Draft is 25-1 as Clemson’s starting quarterback. He led the Tigers to a national championship in 2018, the first team since 1897 to post a perfect 15-0 record. He was the ACC Rookie of the Year that season and was the first freshman since 1985 to lead his team to a national championship.
Lawrence has a cannon for an arm and, as his numbers have shown, he makes great decisions with the football. His mobility in the pocket is underrated, as he climbs and uses the pocket to extend plays better than anyone in college football.
He can also be an elusive runner in the open field, something he proved with his 67-yard touchdown run against Ohio State in last year’s Fiesta Bowl.
“So, I am just really proud of him, his leadership and just his love of competition. He is a great competitor,” Swinney said. “He has just worked his tail off to get to this point.”
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