College football has huge quarterback battles at a number of massive programs. Alabama and Ohio State have generated many of the headlines. However, Clemson could also see a change. Kelly Bryant returns after a strong season as starter in 2017, but the No. 1 player in the country Trevor Lawrence joins the program, and could make the Clemson quarterback battle very interesting.
Lawrence shined at Clemson’s spring game this afternoon. He was 11-of-16 through the air for 122 yards and a touchdown. A second touchdown was waived off, as the officials ruled the play dead as a sack. Swinney had high praise for his freshman signal caller after the game. Via ESPN:
“He wasn’t overwhelmed as far as learning, was able to practice pretty quickly what we were asking him to do,” Swinney said. “That’s a hard thing. That’s a lot to know. He really was excellent, very well prepared and ready. And as we continued, he had a day or two where he bogged down a little bit, but all in all, it was an excellent spring.”
It has to be impossible for Clemson fans to avoid seeing the future in Lawrence. The touchdown throw was a thing of absolute beauty.
Trevor Lawrence = The Real Deal
Dude throws it 50 yards by just flipping his wrist… pic.twitter.com/hdjER6Kn8a
— Jim Weber (@JimMWeber) April 14, 2018
Trevor Lawrence clearly outplayed Kelly Bryant, heating up talks of a Clemson quarterback battle.
Dabo Swinney stopped short of calling for it though. He said that right now, Bryant remains QB1.
“He’s still, at this point, No. 1 if we played today,” Swinney said. “But when you came into spring, that was an easy thing to say. You had to start somewhere. … Guys are better than they were day one. Kelly has had a good spring, but those guys behind him have had great springs as well.”
He wouldn’t just commit to Bryant remaining so for Week 1, however. There is definitely some pressure at the top of the depth chart.
“He’s made a lot of big plays and proven that he can win at the highest level,” Swinney said. “But last year isn’t this year. It’s a very competitive situation.”
Last year, stepping in for Clemson great Deshaun Watson, Kelly Bryant threw for 2,802 yards, 13 touchdowns, and eight interceptions. He is also a serious asset on the ground, rushing for 665 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2017. Clemson, of course, won the ACC and went to the College Football Playoff with Bryant under center. Trevor Lawrence may very well win this Clemson quarterback battle, but it will take a lot to supplant a quality starter like Bryant.