Tagovailoa picked over Lawrence in Top 50 rankings
|Wednesday, February 13, 2019, 11:30 AM- -|
Clemson will have several high-profile players selected in the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft. However, that doesn't mean the cupboard was left bare as the team is still loaded with talented players.
Athlon Sports released their rankings of the Top 50 returning players for 2019 and five Tigers were included.
Clemson signal-caller Trevor Lawrence was ranked No. 2 overall behind Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa. This is not a typo. Despite Lawrence outplaying Tagovailoa in the title game, Lawrence is behind him in the 2019 rankings.
"Lawrence and Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa are really 1A and 1B in this ranking," Athlon Sports said. "As a true freshman in 2018, Lawrence helped to guide Clemson to the national championship by throwing for 3,280 yards and 30 touchdowns to just four picks even though he didn't start the season as the starter. With a strong supporting cast in place at receiver and a full offseason to work as the starter, Lawrence is primed for even bigger things in 2019."
Clemson running back Travis Etienne was ranked No. 4 overall and the second-best running back behind Wisconsin's Jonathan Taylor.
"Etienne had only 204 rushing attempts last season, but he certainly made the most of those opportunities," Athlon Sports said. "En route to winning ACC Player of the Year honors, Etienne rushed for 1,658 yards and 24 touchdowns – averaging a robust 8.1 yards per carry."
"The duo of Higgins and Ross will be one of the nation’s most dynamic pairings at receiver," Athlon Sports said. "These two players combined for 1,936 receiving yards and 21 touchdown catches last year. Ross averaged a healthy 21.7 yards per catch, while Higgins paced the Clemson offense with 59 receptions."
A fairly low ranking by Athlon Sports as both players totally took over the title game against Alabama.
Clemson defensive end Xavier Thomas was ranked No. 23 overall.
"With Clelin Ferrell, Dexter Lawrence, Christian Wilkins, and Austin Bryant off to the NFL, coordinator Brent Venables will have to restock the line this spring," Athlon Sports said. "That’s not a problem considering the track record of success in the trenches recently at Clemson, along with Thomas’ play in limited snaps last year. The five-star recruit recorded 10.5 tackles for a loss and 3.5 sacks as a freshman in 2018 and should thrive with a full allotment of snaps."
Isaiah Simmons was listed in a group of players that barely missed the Top 50.