Lawrence becomes second Tiger to be named Heisman Trophy finalist

Lawrence becomes second Tiger to be named Heisman Trophy finalist

Football

Lawrence becomes second Tiger to be named Heisman Trophy finalist

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Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence was named one of four finalists for the 2020 Heisman Trophy, the Downtown Athletic Club in New York announced Thursday.

Lawrence becomes just the second Clemson player to be named a finalist for college football’s most coveted award. Former Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson was a 2015 and 2016 finalist for the award, the first player from the ACC to earn back-to-back finalist recognition.

Watson finished third in the voting in 2015 and was the runner-up in 2016. No Clemson player has ever won the Heisman Trophy.

The winner of the 2020 Heisman Trophy will be announced on Jan. 5. The Heisman Trophy is presented each year to the Most Outstanding Player in college football.

Besides Lawrence, Alabama quarterback Mac Jones and wide receiver DeVonta Smith and Florida quarterback Kyle Trask are the other three finalists.

Lawrence led Clemson to a sixth straight ACC Championship this season, while throwing for 2,753 yards and 22 touchdowns with just four interceptions. He completed 69.2 percent of his 286 passes. He averaged 305.9 yards per game through the air and had an efficiency rating of 172.68.

He also rushed for 211 yards and scored seven touchdowns. Lawrence leads the ACC in passing yards per game and completion percentage.

“I know it’s not a career award and all that, but this guy’s been doing it every year since he’s been here,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said. “He’s been in two national championship games. And you know, it’s not a knock on anybody else out there, but it’s so obvious who the best player in the country is.

“And, you know, I hate to even have to campaign for him, but it’s like, sometimes I think people just take him for granted like it’s just easy what he does. And, you know, it’s unbelievable what he does. The fact that he can make it look easy, it just further shows how special he is.”

With Lawrence leading the way, Clemson is again back in the College Football Playoff for a sixth straight year. The No. 2 seed Tigers lead the ACC in scoring offense (44.9 ppg) and passing offense (343.8 ypg) and are second in total offense (507.6 ypg).

In his career, Lawrence is 34-1 as a starting quarterback, including 9-0 this year. His .971 win percentage is the best in the history of the FBS, since Division I college football was split into two divisions back in 1979.

“The Heisman has almost become a stat award. It’s about who’s got the best stats,” Swinney said. “You can have all kinds of stats. He hasn’t played in a bunch of four quarters in his career, but he’s a winner, man. He’s 34‐1.”

Lawrence completed 25-of-36 passes for 322 yards and two touchdowns, while running for 90 yards and another score in the Tigers’ 34-10 win over No. 4 Notre Dame in the ACC Championship Game last Saturday. He was named the game’s MVP afterwards for his performance.

Of course, John Heisman, whom the award is named after, coached at Clemson from 1900-’03. Heisman led Clemson to a 19-3-2 record during his four years at Clemson, while winning three SIAA Conference Championships.

On Wednesday, the ACC named Lawrence as its ACC Player of the Year, as well as its Offensive Player of the Year. On Tuesday, he was named as the Associated Press’ Offensive Player of the Year Award in the ACC.

In addition to his on-field efforts, Lawrence has had a transcendent impact off the field as well, earning a selection on this year’s AFCA Good Works Team.

Last March, he and his now-fiancée helped organize COVID-19 relief efforts in both Upstate South Carolina and his home community of Cartersville, Ga. Over the summer, he was one of four Clemson players who helped organize and lead the Clemson Community Peaceful Demonstration that attracted several thousand people to Clemson’s campus.

And in August, he and his teammates vocally ignited the #WeWantToPlay movement, mobilizing college football players around the country in support of playing the college football season safely in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Clemson has had eight previous top 10 finishes in Heisman history, led by Watson’s second-place finish in 2016. Lawrence finished seventh in Heisman voting a season ago.

TOP HEISMAN FINISHES (CLEMSON HISTORY)

YEAR

PLAYER

FINISH

2016

QB Deshaun Watson

2

2015

QB Deshaun Watson

3

2009

RB C.J. Spiller

6

1978

QB Steve Fuller

6

2019

QB Trevor Lawrence

7

2018

RB Travis Etienne

7

1939

QB Banks McFadden

8

2019

RB Travis Etienne

9

–Clemson Athletic Communications contributed to this story

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