CLEMSON FOOTBALL

Lawrence is regarded as the nation's top player by Sports Illustrated.
Lawrence is regarded as the nation's top player by Sports Illustrated.

Trevor Lawrence leads SI Top-100 players list


by - Staff Writer -

Clemson's Trevor Lawrence led a Sports Illustrated ranking of the top-100 players in college football for 2019 this week.

"Tua (Tagovailoa) may be coming off of one of the best statistical seasons in college football history," SI writes, "but it's Trevor who has set himself the highest ceiling for 2019 after stepping into the College Football Playoff limelight as a true freshman and strafing Notre Dame and Alabama to lift Clemson to its second national title in three years."

Running back Travis Etienne (7) and receiver Tee Higgins (20) rounded out the top-20 Tigers, in a group of seven Clemson products to make the list.

Lawrence earned freshman All-American honors last season. Etienne was a first-team All-American and the ACC’s player of the year. Higgins picked up first-team All-ACC honors with 59 catches for 936 yards and 12 scores.

Just inside the top-50 were wide receiver Justyn Ross (35), defensive tackle Nyles Pinckney (45) and linebacker Isaiah Simmons (48).

Ross finished his rookie campaign strong with 12 receptions for 301 yards and three scores in blowout wins over Notre Dame and Alabama to capture the national title.

Pinckney is moving into a bigger role after sitting out the spring due to injury (pectoral). As a key reserve last season, Pinckney tallied 26 tackles (4.5 for loss) and a force fumble in 316 snaps last season.

Simmons was a breakout player in his first year as a starter, posting a team-best 97 tackles (9.5 for loss) with seven pass breakups, three forced fumbles and a pick-six.

Rounding out the group is junior cornerback A.J. Terrell at No. 75, who earned third-team All-ACC honors in his first season as a starter. Terrell tallied 53 stops with seven pass breakups and a team-best three interceptions.

Among the notable snubs was freshman All-American and 5-star prospect Xavier Thomas, who tallied 10.5 tackles for loss in 304 snaps without a start in 15 games.

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