On Monday morning Clemson made a big announcement, it was changing its depth chart, switching out Kelly Bryant for Trevor Lawrence at the quarterback position, reports ESPN.
Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney said that he would make a change at quarterback last week after the Georgia Tech game. Lawrence starred in that game, coming off the bench and completing 13 of 18 passes for 176 yards on Saturday’s game.
“He really played well, he was very poised,” said Swinney after the game. “The game has slowed down for him, and he’s making good decisions… he made some beautiful throws and there’s just some technical things to clean up.”
On Saturday Swinney refused to make any statement regarding the position, which has been held by Kelly Bryant, the man who led the Tigers to the college football playoffs in 2017 and had started all four games this season.
Despite Bryant being the starter through the games so far this season, it is Lawrence who has led the team in drives thus far. Lawrence has led the team through 23 drives, slightly more than Bryant’s 21 and has had much more success, with Clemson averaging 4.2 points per drive when Lawrence is taking the snaps, more than double the return with Bryant.
Drive by drive breakdown of Kelly Bryant vs. Trevor Lawrence. Kelly’s been good. Trevor’s been… real good. pic.twitter.com/6O6HDN3vRC— A David Hale joint (@DavidHaleESPN) September 24, 2018
The decision isn’t to say that Bryant is a poor quarterback as his numbers this season are impressive, with a 67 percent pass completion rate for 361 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception, a better completion rate than Lawrence’s 65 percent. But in the vital number, the one that goes up on the scoreboard, Lawrence has a significant advantage, having managed completions for nine touchdowns as part of his haul of 600 yards.
Lawrence’s impressive numbers follow up from his incredible varsity career at Cartersville (GA) High School, where he was rated the No. 2 recruit ahead of this season. While at the school, he broke a Clemson alumnus state varsity record, breaking a number of marks set by Deshaun Watson, now with the Houston Texans in the NFL.
The parallels with Watson will no doubt continue, with direct comparisons to another great Tigers quarterback inevitable, like Lawrence, Watson also came off the bench in his first games before being named a starter.
Since enrolling in Clemson in January, when he started taking classes at the school, coaches have been making those comparisons to Watson. Those coaches say that Lawrence’s development is already ahead of Watson and now being handed the starting position, the sky could be the limit for the freshman.
Lawrence will get his first start on Saturday when the Tigers face undefeated Syracuse at home.