Clemson's Trevor Lawrence Says National Championship Means More Than Heisman

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistDecember 25, 2019

FILE - In this Jan. 7, 2019, file photo, Clemson's Trevor Lawrence holds the trophy after the NCAA college football playoff championship game against Alabama, in Santa Clara, Calif. For the first time, the defending national champion Tigers are No. 1 in The Associated Press preseason Top 25 presented by Regions Bank, Monday, Aug. 19, 2019. Clemson won its second national title in three seasons behind freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence to claim equal standing with Alabama at the top of the sport. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)
David J. Phillip/Associated Press

Clemson Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence was not among the four finalists for the 2019 Heisman Trophy, but the sophomore star isn't letting that exclusion bother him. 

He has his sights set on the ultimate prize.

As he prepares for the 2019-20 College Football Playoff, Lawrence let it be known that he values team success more than any individual award, per Grace Raynor of The Athletic:

"You can't argue anything those other guys have done, so for me to say I should've been there instead of them is diminishing what they've done. I believe I'm one of the best players in college football. My play will speak for itself. I don't really have to worry about any awards. I think winning the national championship says a lot more than those."

And thus far, he has taken care of business in that regard.

Lawrence is 24-0 as a starter at Clemson, leading the team to a national championship as a true freshman last season. This year, he has led the Tigers to a 13-0 record and another College Football Playoff berth.

After a sensational freshman campaign, Lawrence entered the 2019 season as the Heisman Trophy front-runner. Though he did not lose a game during the regular season, the star passer was scrutinized for a relatively pedestrian performance.

He completed 68.8 percent of his passes for 3,172 yards, 34 touchdowns and eight interceptions. While those numbers were more than respectable, they did not earn him a trip to New York earlier this month.

Instead, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (who won the award by a record margin), Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields and defensive lineman Chase Young and Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts were named Heisman finalists. Clemson was the only CFP team to not have a representative.

Lawrence noted that each of the finalists were deserving of the honor. Rather than downplay any of his peers, he will let his play do the talking.

Lawrence isn't alone in being overlooked, though. Clemson, which is riding a 28-game winning streak, has not been given its due respect as the reigning champs all season. Now, Lawrence and Co. are ready to send a message to the football world.

"To me, I live for games like this. I love playing in these big games where everyone's watching," Lawrence said, per Raynor. "All year the narrative has been we haven't played anyone, but now we get to play one of the best teams and really show what we can do."

Lawrence added that last year's CFB experience has proven valuable, as he "kind of know what’s going on more" this time around. That could loom large as he prepares to face an Ohio State squad that is making its first CFP appearance since 2016.