Lawrence makes statement in ACC title game as Heisman hopeful

Lawrence makes statement in ACC title game as Heisman hopeful
Clemson Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence jokes around following the teamÕs victory over Notre Dame in the ACC Championship game at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC on Saturday, December 19, 2020. The Tigers defeated the Fighting Irish 34-10. (Source: Jeff Siner)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - According to the Heisman Trophy Trust, the Heisman Trophy goes to “the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity.”

Under that definition, Clemson players and coaches believe quarterback Trevor Lawrence should be this year’s winner. On Saturday, he bolstered that argument with his MVP performance in the ACC Championship game against No. 2 Notre Dame.

“I don’t know all the parameters for voting, but I do know this -- Trevor Lawrence is the best football player in the country and I’m a better coach because I’m around him every single day,” said Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott. “The way he challenges himself and challenges me mentally gives me the justification to say he’s the best player in the country. He lives under a huge microscope. The young man just continues to amaze me by doing things and his on-the-field play speaks for itself. I don’t want to get into all of that. All I know is Trevor Lawrence is the best football player in the country.”

Lawrence threw for 322 yards and two scores and rushing for a touchdown in Clemson’s 34-10 win over the Fighting Irish. In nine games, Lawrence has completed 69.2% of his passes for 2,753 yards and 22 touchdowns.

What may make Lawrence’s case may actually be the games he didn’t play for the Tigers. Lawrence was sidelined for two weeks due to COVID-19. During those two weeks, the Tigers lost their first meeting with Notre Dame in South Bend. While there were several players who weren’t available for this game, Lawrence may have been arguably one of the most important.

At one point, Lawrence was on the outside looking into the Heisman picture. Now, Lawrence has reasserted himself arguably as the frontrunner for the coveted trophy.

“I hate even having to campaign for him,” said Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney. “But again, it’s become a stat award and it’s so media driven for whatever reason. They say, ‘Oh, he missed two games.’ Heck, he’s played nine games. He’s played more games than most other people. He’s played nine games and he’s unbelievable. He doesn’t play in every fourth quarter to leave him out there and just rack up stats. To me, it’s not about stats. It’s about who’s the best player and he’s the best player. Period.”

This year, the Heisman Trophy will be presented in a virtual ceremony on January 5.

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