One of the greatest quarterback careers in the history of college football came to an end on Friday night in New Orleans.
Trevor Lawrence’s career at Clemson ended in the Sugar Bowl as Ohio State beat the Tigers, 49-28, at the Superdome. It was just the second time a Lawrence led Clemson team lost, coincidently they both came in the same building.
Lawrence, as he has already indicated, is expected to forgo his senior year at Clemson and put his name into the hat for the 2021 NFL Draft. He is expected by many to be the top overall pick in the draft this April.
“I mean, Trevor Lawrence is a generational guy. He’s going to be a great player for a long, long time,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said.
But the loss to LSU in last year’s national championship game and Friday’s loss to the Buckeyes takes nothing away from what the Cartersville, Ga., native accomplished in his three seasons at Clemson.
“Trevor is the winningest quarterback in school history. Played for two national championships. Won one of them. Left here as a three‑time (ACC) champion,” Swinney said.
Lawrence concluded his career with a 34-2 (.944) record as a starter, the third-best winning percentage by a starting quarterback with at least 30 career starts since Division I split in 1978, trailing only Miami’s Ken Dorsey (.950) and USC’s Matt Leinart (.949), according to ESPN Stats & Info.
Thanks to the 400 yards he threw in the Sugar Bowl, Lawrence (3,153) posted the ninth 3,000-yard passing season in Clemson history. He joined Tajh Boyd as the only players in Clemson history to accomplish the feat three times in a career.
He also became the third Clemson player ever to throw for 10,000 career passing yards (10,098). Tajh Boyd (11,904) and Deshaun Watson (10,163) presently rank No. 1 and No. 2 in career passing yards in school history.
And as Swinney commented, Lawrence won one national championship, played for another and led the Tigers to three straight ACC Championships.
“Just finishing with no regrets,” Lawrence said after the game. “Obviously, tonight didn’t go well, but I know that the way I prepared, the way this team prepared, and then just this whole year, the way we’ve carried ourselves, I’m proud of it. I don’t have any regrets. There’s not much I’d go back and change.
“Like I said, just proud to be where I’m at. Proud of the man I’ve become over my time here. And just thankful for a lot of good people in my life.”
Though he lost in his final game as a Tiger, Lawrence did not go down without a fight. He threw for 400 yards and two touchdowns, while completing a career-best 33 passes on 48 attempts.
“I’m not going to quit, no matter ‑‑ I believed to the very end that we had a chance to win it, even when we were in the red zone, fourth down right there. Obviously, after they intercepted it, I didn’t really have a chance at all there. But I was just trying to keep believing, no matter what.
“The whole group on offense didn’t quit. Obviously, we didn’t put a lot of scoring drives together in that second half, but we didn’t quit. I think we moved the ball well. It’s been a crazy year and 2021, hopefully, looks a little bit brighter. Obviously, not a great start for us. But, man, I’m super proud to be a Clemson Tiger for sure.”