Swinney compares two once-in-a-lifetime quarterbacks

Swinney compares two once-in-a-lifetime quarterbacks

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Swinney compares two once-in-a-lifetime quarterbacks

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For a second straight week, a New York reporter joined Dabo Swinney’s weekly press conference on Tuesday to ask about Trevor Lawrence.

The Clemson quarterback is considered to be the top prospect in next April’s NFL Draft and with the New York Jets being the only winless team remaining in the NFL, many in the New York media believe the Jets will take Lawrence with the No. 1 overall pick.

Clemson has never had a player go No. 1 overall in a draft, and only two of its former quarterbacks have ever gone in the first round. Steve Fuller went No. 23 overall to Kansas City in the 1979 NFL Draft, while more recently Deshaun Watson was selected No. 12 in the 2017 Draft.

Now in his fourth season, Watson has become one of the young stars in the NFL, leading Houston to the NFL Playoffs in each of the last two seasons.

Based off his style and same level of success, Swinney was asked what Lawrence might do that is different than what Watson did while he was at Clemson.

“They are more similar than they are different,” the Clemson coach said. “They are similar in really every regard with the exception of Trevor being right at 6-6. Deshaun is not that, he is probably right in the 6-3, maybe not quite 6-3 range. But they are more similar.

“They both can make every throw. Trevor might have a little bigger arm, but you are splitting hairs. Deshaun can make every throw. Trevor can make every throw. They are both creative. They are both great leaders. They both carry themselves with a great humble spirit. They are great teammates. They are both servant type leaders. They are both grinders. They both love to prepare.”

They are both winners, too. Watson was 32-3 as the Tigers’ starting quarterback from 2014-’16. He led Clemson to the 2016 National Championship and played for it the year before.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney celebrates with Deshaun Watson after winning the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game against Alabama. (Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY Sports)

Lawrence, who is getting close to breaking some of Watson’s records at Clemson, is 30-1 as the Tigers’ starter. He led Clemson to the 2018 National Championship as a freshman and last year, he had the Tigers back in the national title game.

Clemson, who will play Syracuse on Saturday at Death Valley, is currently 5-0 and 4-0 in the ACC and is ranked No. 1 in the country.

“I didn’t know I would ever get to coach another guy like Deshaun that just loved to prepare and was so focused and so focused on being great that he did not get distracted by other things,” Swinney said. “Trevor and Deshaun are the exact same.

“Trevor is graduating in what, two and a half years, right at three years. Deshaun did the same thing. They were just very focused young people when I met them. Deshaun committed as a tenth grader. Trevor committed during the season of his junior year. They were just very focused on what they want to do in life, and they have fun doing it.”

Swinney said the differences in the two quarterbacks is simple, Lawrence is taller and has longer hair than Watson.

“Trevor does not get the credit for his athleticism. There is nothing Deshaun can’t do athletically and running that Trevor can’t do,” Swinney said. “I think you saw that in the bowl game last year. When he took a draw against a great football team (67 yards). He can run. He and Deshaun can run. There are really not any differences, to me, other than just their size and Trevor has long hair and Deshaun has short hair.

“They are great human beings, both of them.”

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