Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence Has Neck Injury, Not Concussion, Per Co-OC

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 1, 2018

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence looks to the sidelines during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Syracuse Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018, in Clemson, S.C. Clemson won 27-23. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro)
Richard Shiro/Associated Press

Clemson Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence may have suffered a neck strain in Saturday's 27-23 win over the Syracuse Orange, Clemson co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott told reporters Monday. 

ESPN.com's David M. Hale noted Lawrence was placed in the concussion protocol Saturday, which ruled him out for the second half of the victory. Scott said further evaluation has indicated a neck issue rather than something related to a head injury for the freshman:

"The medical staff sees a lot of positive signs and everything is tracking the right way. There's a chance he'll be able to practice [Monday]. They're going to let him lift and go through their protocol they have. But they've been very optimistic, and they're kind of finding out it's more of a neck strain, with the way he got hit, so that's good news. But no final decision has been made on that."

During the second quarter Saturday, Lawrence took a blow to the head from Syracuse defensive back Evan Foster.

Redshirt freshman Chase Brice came on in relief, going 7-of-13 for 83 yards and an interception.

A week earlier, the Tigers could've called upon Kelly Bryant, who was the starting quarterback last year as Clemson reached the College Football Playoff semifinal. However, Bryant confirmed he plans on transferring after head coach Dabo Swinney made Lawrence the full-time starter.

Bryant hasn't officially transferred, but Hale wrote "there's no sign" the senior will come back to Clemson after Lawrence's injury.

The Tigers avoided an upset to Syracuse in large part because the defense limited the Orange to seven points in the second half. Running back Travis Etienne also ran for 203 yards and three touchdowns and was instrumental in wearing down the Syracuse defense before his game-winning touchdown run with 41 seconds remaining.

Lawrence can't come back soon enough, so the early diagnosis for his injury is encouraging. Having said that, resting him for Saturday's game against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons may be the sensible approach.

Wake Forest ranks 81st in Football Outsiders' F/+ combined ranking and has allowed 189.6 yards per game on the ground, 102nd in FBS. A heavy dose of Etienne, Adam Choice and Tavien Feaster might be enough for Clemson's offense to consistently move the chains. 

And by resting Lawrence, the Tigers would give him even more time to prepare for their matchup with the 23rd-ranked North Carolina State Wolfpack, which isn't until Oct. 20.

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