CFB analyst: 'Lawrence will become the guy’ in 2018


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Kanell says Lawrence can bring an element that was missing from the 2017 offense.
Kanell says Lawrence can bring an element that was missing from the 2017 offense.

Saturday’s spring game signaled another level to the Clemson QB conversation over the next few months.

Returning starter Kelly Bryant was admittedly “a little wild” in an 8-of-15 passing effort for 35 yards. Meanwhile, 5-star freshman Trevor Lawrence’s second pass was a 50-yard touchdown and former 5-star prospect Hunter Johnson connected for a score also in efficient passing days.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said postgame that they will evaluate the depth chart after watching film from this spring, but that there’s still plenty of time until the 2018 kickoff.

“He (Bryant) missed two big throws today that he’s made all spring,” Swinney said, “but he missed them today. We’ll sit down and we’ll have exit interviews with all of those guys. Regardless of what any post-spring depth chart is, it just really doesn’t matter because we don’t play until September...There’s a lot of work to be done. You’ve got earn it every day and that’s what we tell these guys at every position.”

CBS Sports analyst Danny Kanell said Monday that Lawrence impressed him enough that he expects to see more of the freshman this fall.

“He...went out there and had a really impressive performance,” Kanell said on a CBS Sports broadcast. “Showcased a lot of the skillset that made him a top-tier talent that everyone was after in the recruiting process. He is going to push Kelly Bryant and I wouldn’t be surprised if he is starting for Clemson next (season) at some point.

“Much like we saw Tua Tagovailoa come in for Jalen Hurts (at Alabama in the national championship game). It’s not good enough to be an average quarterback at some of these top-tier programs where the expectation is championship or bust.”

Bryant led the ACC in completion percentage (65.8) and adjusted completion percentage (73.9) but saw his QB rating go down each month last season, finishing sixth among ACC peers (131.73) and 60th nationally. He ranked eighth among conference QBs in yards per attempt (7.0) with 13 touchdowns to eight interceptions.

On the ground, Bryant led the Tigers in yards gained (884) on 192 carries (107 rushes the next-most, from Travis Etienne and Tavien Feaster each) with 11 touchdowns.

“Last year, Kelly Bryant steered them to a championship and got them to the Playoff,” Kanell said, “but in that loss to Alabama, he had two interceptions and there just felt like there was an element missing to the Clemson passing game.

“That’s why ultimately I think (Trevor) Lawrence will become the guy. But again, he needs those reps and these spring practices. But Kelly Bryant is going to be pushed.”


Tags: Kelly Bryant, Tavien Feaster, Hunter Johnson, Travis Etienne, Trevor Lawrence
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