Out of sight, out of mind.
That is what has happened to Trevor Lawrence in the Heisman Trophy race. While Florida’s Kyle Trask and BYU’s Zach Wilson have been putting up big numbers the last three weeks or so, Clemson’s star quarterback has been out of commission.
Lawrence missed two games due to COVID-19 protocol after he tested positive for the virus on Oct. 29, and then last week the fourth-ranked Tigers were off. When Clemson gets back on the field Saturday at Florida State, it will be nearly a month (Oct. 24 vs. Syracuse) since he played in a game.
The Clemson quarterback fell to fourth in ESPN’s latest Heisman watch, which is voted on by ESPN.com’s 13 staff writers. Trask is ranked No. 1 in the poll, followed by Alabama’s Mac Jones and Ohio State’s Justin Field’s to round out the top 4. Wilson is No. 5 in the voting.
“You can go both ways, I think,” Lawrence said on Tuesday. “Obviously, that is something that you have to perform and you have to play well to be in the running for and it definitely hurts you when you don’t play for two weeks.”
Though he has not played in almost a month, Lawrence is just one great performance away from being back in the race. He will get that chance, possibly, if the Tigers can win their remaining three regular season games and earn a sixth straight appearance in the ACC Championship Game, where they will likely face No. 2 Notre Dame. The Irish, of course, upset Clemson, then No. 1 in the polls, on Nov. 7 when Lawrence was still on the sideline because of COVID-19 protocols.
A strong performance against Notre Dame in a re-match can do wonders for Lawrence’s Heisman hopes.
“I can see that side of it. But at the same time, no watch list or award list is going to change how I feel and the confidence that I have. That is not going to change,” Lawrence said.
And why should it. Before he tested positive for the coronavirus, Lawrence was ripping through the opposition. The junior had already thrown for 1,833 yards and 17 touchdowns, which both led the ACC at the time. He has completed 71 percent of his 191 passes and has thrown just two interceptions.
“I am just here to play football and do what I love,” Lawrence said. “The biggest thing is just staying focused on this team. I guess, in the end, it is where we want to be. I have never been one to care about (individual) awards.
“Obviously, it would be super cool and would be an honor to be in the running for the Heisman. But honestly, if I don’t win it, the world is not going to stop so it is really not the biggest deal to me… I am more focused on this team and playing well and putting us in a position to win every week.”
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