Clemson freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence is about halfway through his first set of spring practices and is already turning heads.
The No. 1 overall recruit for the class of 2018 is pushing Kelly Bryant for the starting job, and he has been impressive thus far, including in Clemson’s scrimmage Wednesday evening.
Tigers cornerback Trayvon Mullen was asked if any quarterback has stood out through the first two weeks of spring practice and did not hesitate before answering.
“Trevor Lawrence, he kind of stands out to me a lot,” Mullen said. “I just feel like he’s grown up fast for himself for him to be coming in as a freshman … As far as just throwing the ball and things like that, I feel like he’s going to be a really good player.”
Tigers coach Dabo Swinney said he is pleased with all of his quarterbacks before adding that the speed at which Lawrence has picked up the offense has been good to see.
“Just great poise, confidence, awareness. He’s got a great ability to process and learn quickly,” Swinney said. “And those are things that you really don’t know until you start coaching a guy, but he’s not overwhelmed and he’s competing. It’s been great.”
Lawrence was most known for his arm strength coming in, but his speed has surprised some so far this spring. Swinney said Lawrence had about a 50-yard run Wednesday night.
“That’s the one thing he probably doesn’t get enough credit for, but he can fly,” Swinney said. “He has a great pocket presence. It’s very natural for him. He’s very instinctive. I think you can see that, but what I don’t think he gets as much credit for is his ability to leave people. I mean he can move. He’s very athletic, and it was exciting to see him make some plays.”
Clemson co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said Bryant is still ahead of Lawrence, Hunter Johnson and Chase Brice, partly because of his experience. But the gap between Bryant and the other quarterbacks is not a big one.
“I think that Kelly feels that those guys are on his heels,” Elliott said. “Now, obviously, he’s still the guy, still the most veteran guy. He handles some situations a little bit better than the younger guys because he’s got the experience. But I believe that he feels that those guys are coming. And, actually, it’s pushing him, because I thought that he had a good day too.”
Swinney is not ready to start narrowing down Clemson’s quarterback job and said he will be confident no matter which guy is named the starter.
“I think the quarterbacks have been outstanding. I know everybody wants to say, ‘Hey, this guy’s the king of the world,’ but it’s just incredibly encouraging to see,” Swinney said. “We could go win with any four of the guys that I see out here. If you tell me that he’s the guy, then we can go win with him. That’s a great situation to be in. Obviously, you’re going to run one guy out there, but we’ve got a long ways until September.”