Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence made history on Thursday when the Jacksonville Jaguars took him as the No. 1 overall draft pick. There was no doubt Lawrence would be a top pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, but the reality of his No. 1 spot pins him as a record-maker.
Clemson football players were never snatched as quickly as Lawrence was in an NFL draft, with their players only going as high as the No. 4 spot. Banks McFadden, Gaines Adams, Sammy Watkins, and Clelin Farrel all shared that title but were dethroned Thursday by Lawrence and his all-star mentality.
According to ESPN’s Mel Kiper, Lawrence will be a legendary quarterback and the Jaguars were smart to pick him up when they did. Kiper ranked him behind John Elway, Andrew Luck, and Peyton Manning, with the fourth-highest grade ever for a quarterback in the NFL Draft.
“He’s historic. He’s just not really good. He’s historically great,” Kiper said while on ESPN’s “Get Up” TV show. “And when you get a Trevor Lawrence, you have to believe his career, when it’s all over and said and done, will probably have a minimum of two to three Super Bowls that he at least plays in.”
Lawrence’s Clemson record set him up as a premier choice for the 2021 Draft. Urban Meyer, the Jacksonville Jaguars’ new coach interviewed the Clemson team to get a feel for Lawrence before picking him up. He learned that “all [Lawrence] ever talks about is winning. All he ever talks about is getting better. It’s not social media following. He’s not even going to the NFL Draft. You know there’s not a whole lot other in his life than his faith and his family.”
Meyer explained during Adam Schefter’s podcast that he was “intrigued by that, and winning. And also the guy gets married and everyone’s at his wedding and his players speak so highly of him. I’ve talked to many of his players on his team, obviously his coaches, but I always like to ask players too. Especially at that position. And you have to be a leader and you have to be respected or quarterbacks will fail. And he checked those boxes with big black check marks in his boxes.”
The boxes Lawrence checked didn’t stop critics from blasting him on social media.
In a cover story done by Sports Illustrated, Trevor Lawrence admitted that though football was his path and his passion. It wasn’t his entire life. “It’s not like I need [football] for my life to be OK,” he explained. “I want to do it because I want to be the best I can be. I want to maximize my potential. Who wouldn’t want to? You kind of waste it if you don’t.”
Lawrence’s comments received backlash on social media. Many fans believe a quarterback’s entire life should be football, and that the mentality is necessary for dedication to do better. He later confirmed that he was a dedicated player and that his comments were misinterpreted.
Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan said he found it “refreshing” that his new quarterback wasn’t attached to football. “I was kind of blown away because of his sense of humility and how grounded and how, for lack of a better word, normal,” Khan told NFL Network. “And the balance of life – it was kind of refreshing. I was really, really delighted.”
Trevor Lawrence showed plenty of dedication to football throughout his Clemson seasons. Before committing to Clemson in 2016, Lawrence was a five-star prospect. He led the Tigers to the 2019 national championship as a freshman and had two more playoff appearances the following years. In 2020, the Tigers lost to Alabama at the national championships and to Ohio State this past season.
He was 34-2 and set the record for most wins as a Clemson starting quarterback. He threw 10,098 yards and 90 touchdowns.