We continue our profiles of 2020 Heisman Trophy candidates with Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who almost surely will be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Barring major injury, some sort of off-field issue or serious regression, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is going to be the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. And if you believe oddsmakers, it will be by the Jacksonville Jaguars as they have lowest win total on the NFL odds at SBR’s top-rated sportsbooks.
The 6-foot-6, 220-pound Lawrence is considered the best quarterback prospect among NFL scouts since Andrew Luck went No. 1 overall out of Stanford in the 2012 draft to the Colts (still shocked he retired before last season). What might Luck and Lawrence have in common finishing their stellar NCAA careers? Not winning a Heisman Trophy.
Luck was a runner-up in 2010 to Cam Newton and was the clear-cut favorite entering 2011 but finished second to Robert Griffin III. As good as Lawrence has been, he hasn’t even finished Top 3 yet. Remember, too: Deshaun Watson was amazing at Clemson before Lawrence and he never won the Heisman, either, although he finished second and third.
No Clemson player has won the Heisman, but Lawrence is a +475 second-favorite to Ohio State’s Justin Fields on BetOnline’s NCAAF odds. I have seen some betting sites that have Lawrence a slight favorite or tied with Fields. If you plan to bet Lawrence, you obviously want the longest odds possible.
Lawrence One Of Top Recruits Ever
Lawrence was not only the top-ranked player via 247Sports in the Class of 2018 out of Cartersville High School in Georgia, but the site ranks him as the sixth-best recruit in its history. No. 1 overall? Jadeveon Clowney. The only QB ahead of Lawrence on that list was Vince Young. Lawrence was the Gatorade Player of the Year in Georgia as both a junior and senior and the National Player of the Year as a senior.
Remember, Lawrence did not start immediately at Clemson, only taking over a few games into the 2018 season for an ineffective Kelly Bryant. Lawrence would be named ACC Freshman of the Year and Freshman All-American and led the Tigers to the national title. He torched top-ranked Alabama in that title game with 347 yards passing and three scores. Lawrence became the first true freshman quarterback to lead his team to a national title since 1985 in helping Clemson become the first major college football team in the modern era to go 15-0.
Last year, Lawrence did look a little shaky early on and that essentially cost him any chance at the Heisman Trophy. He had seven interceptions combined in the first three games. And in a near loss at North Carolina on Sept. 28, Lawrence had just one TD pass. However, as the season went on, he got better and better and Clemson started killing people.
In the College Football Playoff semifinal win over Ohio State, Lawrence threw for two scores but the most memorable play was his 67-yard touchdown run right before halftime to pull the Tigers within 16-14. Alas, LSU worked him over a bit in the national title loss as Lawrence was just 18-for-37 for 234 yards with no TDs. He did rush for a score.
Overall, Lawrence finished the season completing 268-of-407 passes for 3,665 yards with a career-high 36 touchdowns and eight interceptions while rushing 103 carries for 563 yards and a career-high nine rushing touchdowns. His 45 combined touchdowns tied former Heisman winner Lamar Jackson for fifth-most in a season in ACC history.
Mel Kiper Jr. released his 2021 NFL Draft Big Board and no surprise that Lawrence is at the top. There will be teams to “Tank for Trevor” this year.
Clemson opens the season (we hope) Sept. 3 at Georgia Tech as a 23-point favorite on the NCAAF odds. The Tigers have a win total of 11.5, with both -110. They will be favored in every game. I’ll say they finish 11-1 (lose at Notre Dame) but win the ACC again and return to the playoff.