Trevor Lawrence, the 19-year-old true freshman who on Monday led Clemson University to the college football national championship — the first true freshman to accomplish that feat in more than 30 years — is already being described as “a legend,” (per ESPN), and by Rivals.com as “the most special quarterback prospect I’ve seen,” among numerous other superlatives — superlatives that were well earned by Lawrence’s performance as a true freshman in 2018.
Those stats added up to 30 touchdown passes against just four interceptions, with 259 completions in 398 attempt for 3,280 yards and an eye-popping quarterback rating of 157.2, according to Sports Reference.
However, while many experts agree that if Lawrence declared for the draft today, he would be the consensus number one overall pick in 2019, as Fansided notes, under rules agreed upon by the NFL and NCAA as well as the NFL Players Association, Lawrence will not be eligible for the draft until 2021. Those rules prevent any team from selecting a player less than three years removed from high school. But Lawrence was still a student at Cartersville High School in Cartersville, Georgia, just eight months ago.
“It’s morally indefensible to deny someone life-changing money and instead force him to spend two years of indentured labor that can only negatively affect his future earnings,” wrote Deadspin columnist Barry Petchesky of the rules that will keep Lawrence out of pro football for two more years.
Or will they?
In 2001, WWE boss Vince McMahon — in partnership with NBC TV — debuted a new pro football league, the XFL, as Inquisitr has documented. The league played only one season before going belly-up — but in 2020, 19 years after failing the first time, McMahon plans to bring the XFL back in a new, friendlier incarnation without the risky rule changes and sometimes tasteless theatrics that marked the XFL’s initial incarnation.
But the new XFL — which, as CBS Sports reported, will start play in eight cities in the spring of 2020 (the original XFL was also a spring league) — will have one major rule that sets it apart from the NFL and could affect Lawrence and his football future directly.
As Sports Illustrated reported, the XFL will not institute the NFL’s strict eligibility requirements for college players.
“Theoretically we could take a player right out of high school. I doubt we’ll do that,” said the new XFL’s commissioner, Oliver Luck, per Pro Football Talk. “But I wouldn’t rule it out….There are a lot of very good college players after a year or two who may not want to play that third year of college football, may need to earn a little money, support the family. That’s not uncommon as well.”
The XFL’s rules “would give a Lawrence an option,” PFT noted, via its Twitter account.
It’s gonna be really cool to see Trevor Lawrence the first big name player to sign in the @xfl2020
Hear me our – he’d be the 1st pick in this years class, why does he need to stay in college. He can start making money immediately and the XFL is going to need a STAR. Perfect fit
— Dynasty Dads (@DynastyDads) January 8, 2019
But experts tend to doubt that Lawrence would opt for a year in the XFL — where salaries will be significantly lower than in the NFL — before jumping to the established league, as Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post Dispatch explained.
“Most college QBs think they have a chance to play in the NFL, realistic or not, and I’m not sure many would be interested in giving up the rock-star life of big man on campus for XFL money,” Frederickson said.
St. Louis will host one of the eight league-owned XFL teams, as the Post-Dispatch reported, along with Los Angeles, New York, Dallas, Houston, Seattle, Tampa, and Washington, D.C.