In a widely expected move, Clemson star Trevor Lawrence is declaring for the 2021 NFL draft.
Lawrence announced his decision in a video message on Twitter:
From the moment the quarterback torched Alabama for 347 yards and three touchdowns as a true freshman—and probably well before that—NFL executives have eagerly awaited the moment the No. 1 recruit in the 2018 freshman class would take the step to the next level.
The 21-year-old has already been positioned as the savior for the franchise sorry enough to land the No. 1 overall pick—to the point that New York Jets fans were upset when the team had the audacity to win a game.
No athlete is assured of enjoying a decorated professional career, and plenty of can't-miss prospects have flamed out in the NFL.
But Lawrence is as close to a sure thing at quarterback since Andrew Luck in 2012. He threw for 9,698 yards and 88 touchdowns in three years at Clemson. He also ran for 951 yards and 17 scores. Ohio State fans likely still have nightmares about his 67-yard touchdown run against the Buckeyes in the 2019 Fiesta Bowl.
Reaching this point has been a yearslong process.
ESPN's David M. Hale wrote in August 2019 how Lawrence's parents lined him up with a dedicated quarterback trainer when he was in the eighth grade. Former teammate Miller Forristall recalled seeing him throw at that time and immediately realizing his status as Cartersville (Georgia) High School's starting quarterback was under threat.
Clemson was heavily pursuing Lawrence when he was a freshman in high school, and the Georgia prep star was the No. 1 overall player in the 2018 class, per 247Sports' composite rankings. The Tigers waited five games before elevating him ahead of Kelly Bryant in the depth chart in his first season.
Time and again, Lawrence has faced sky-high expectations and met or exceeded them.
As miserable as the 2020 season was for the Jacksonville Jaguars, who own the No. 1 pick after losing 15 straight games following a Week 1 win, the 2021 draft could make it all worth it. Sales of "Lawrence No. 16" jerseys are probably surging in Jacksonville as we speak.