Swinney says Trevor Lawrence way ahead of Deshaun Watson
|Thursday, December 21, 2017, 12:01 PM- -|
CLEMSON – It’s almost unfair to compare any high school quarterback, or college quarterback for that matter, to Deshaun Watson. Watson, who now plays for the Houston Texans in the NFL, is arguably the best player in Clemson history.
But that’s exactly what head coach Dabo Swinney did during his press early signing period press conference Wednesday afternoon, comparing Watson to another Georgia high school phenom named Trevor Lawrence.
Lawrence, out of Cartersville (GA), committed to the Tigers last December and spent a good portion of his senior season breaking Watson's Georgia state records. He broke Watson’s career passing yardage and touchdowns record and finished his high school career with 14,352 yards and 161 touchdowns. Watson passed for 12,961 yards and 155 touchdowns at Gainesville.
Swinney says that Lawrence is ahead of where Watson was coming out of high school, which is high praise.
“He’s just so physically developed for a young guy. Deshaun was obviously pretty special coming out of Georgia,” Swinney said. “He’s just way ahead of Deshaun from a physical standpoint. We’ll see where he is mentally and how he transitions and all that once he gets here and we start coaching. I don’t think that you really know that until you start coaching a guy, but he’s been well prepared, well groomed.”
In other words, Lawrence is the total package.
“He’s got everything that you look for, you could possibly want. He’s just been a natural from Day 1, all the way from the ninth grade on,” Swinney said. “He’s got unbelievable arm talent. That’s pretty easy to see when you watch him, but I think he’s just a very poised guy that is a great competitor. He’s been a great leader for his program. He’s a very good student, and just a guy that I think knows what he wants and is willing to work for it.”
The Tigers have quarterback Kelly Bryant back next season. All Bryant has done is lead Clemson to a No. 1 ranking, a 12-1 record and a berth in the College Football Playoff. Clemson also has last year’s top-ranked quarterback commit on hand in Hunter Johnson, as is former Elite 11 standout Zerrick Cooper. Another top-flight Georgia quarterback, Chase Brice, redshirted this season.
However, Swinney made it sound like Lawrence, who will enroll in January, will compete with the others for the starting spot in the spring.
“We’ve got good players here. They all understand competition. Trevor committed last December and has been one of the most low maintenance recruits I’ve ever been around,” Swinney said. “He’s known what he wants to do, and he’s excited about having an opportunity to come in here and compete. My job is to go recruit the best players that I can recruit for Clemson University, and then when they get here challenge them, grow them, mature them, develop them into being the best version of themselves.
“Competition is going to bring out the best in everyone, and at the end of the day, somebody’s going to win the job. You’re going to have starters. You’re going to have backups. And that’s life. That’s the way it is. So we have a process in place. You go through it and let the chips fall where they may.”