Clemson's Trevor Lawrence Leaves Door Open on Forgoing 2021 NFL Draft

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 27, 2020

FILE - In this Jan. 13, 2020, file photo, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence passes against LSU during the second half of a NCAA College Football Playoff national championship game, in New Orleans. Lawrence is on a streak of 314 pass attempts without an interception, a run dating back to last Oct. 19 when he was picked off twice at Louisville in Clemson's 45-10 victory. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)
Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

While many expect Clemson star Trevor Lawrence to move on to greener pastures after the 2020 season, the Tigers quarterback hasn't ruled out returning for his senior year.

"My mindset has been that I'm going to move on," Lawrence told reporters Tuesday. "But who knows? There's a lot of things that could happen."

As a true freshman, Lawrence helped lead Clemson to a national title, throwing for 674 yards and six touchdowns in the team's two College Football Playoff games. From that moment that season ended, he has been almost universally regarded as the No. 1 player in the 2021 draft class.

His 2020 performance is doing nothing to change that opinion. Through six games, Lawrence has thrown for 1,833 yards, 17 touchdowns and two interceptions.

However, one line of thinking has emerged with the 0-7 New York Jets on track to have the top pick next spring: Maybe Lawrence be better off at Clemson in 2021.

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The Jets have horribly mismanaged Sam Darnold's development. Within three years, he has gone from the quarterback of the future to somebody who may not yield a first-round pick in a trade.

The dysfunction goes deeper than head coach Adam Gase, too. The franchise has one winning record since 2010 and zero playoff appearances during that span, and New York hasn't had a true long-term solution at quarterback since Chad Pennington from 2000-07.

Nobody would blame Lawrence if he had genuine concerns about landing with the Jets.

Of course, his comments Tuesday probably had little relation to where he might wind up in the NFL. Even if his departure is presumed by many, affirmatively declaring his intentions for 2021 while Clemson is chasing another national title doesn't work toward anybody's benefit.