Immediately after Trevor Lawrence led Clemson to a national title in 2018, he was labeled the best quarterback prospect in the country. Expectations like that at such a young age can be a burden, but Lawrence was never fazed by them.
Fast forward three years later, the Jacksonville Jaguars selected Lawrence with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Though he’s still months away from making his professional debut, there are countless fans expecting him to rejuvenate a franchise that has not yet made a Super Bowl appearance.
While his skillset on the field has made him a fan favorite, Lawrence has received praise for his demeanor away from the gridiron. Prior to the NFL Draft, he turned a lot of heads when he said “I don’t need football to make me feel worthy as a person. I purely love the game and everything that comes with it.”
Lawrence’s maturity made him an ideal fit for several marketing companies looking to acquire new talent. As a matter of fact, he signed a multi-year deal with Gatorade back in April. Though he recently joined the company, he’s already making an impact with them. This week, he presented the Gatorade National Football Player of the Year award to USC quarterback Jaxson Dart.
We sat down with Trevor Lawrence to discuss his work with Gatorade, how his first few weeks have been with the Jacksonville Jaguars, his thoughts on the Tim Tebow signing, what his Madden rating should be and much more.
The Spun: First off, can you tell me about what you’re doing with the Gatorade Player of the Year program?
Trevor Lawrence: It was awesome. Today, I was able to present the Gatorade National Football Player of the Year award to Jaxson Dart. That’s the most prestigious high school sports award, so that was special for me to be a part of and I was honored that Gatorade asked me to present it. For Jaxson, this is such a cool thing. I like the award because it encompasses more than just football – it’s about football, how you’re doing in school and what you’re doing for your community. I think that’s really special, and when someone wins that, they deserve a lot of congrats.
The Spun: You’ve won plenty of awards during your career. What’s it like to be the one presenting it to a high school athlete?
TL: It was fun. I feel like there are some good things about presenting it. There’s not as much pressure, so you can enjoy the moment and see how someone reacts. It was cool to be a part of. It’s the first time I’ve ever done this.
The Spun: You’re a few weeks into camp now. How has it been working under Urban Meyer?
TL: It’s been great. From a communication standpoint, he’s awesome. I was saying earlier, the expectations are super clear here from the top down. I think that’s super important when you’re talking about a great coach and trying to be a great team – communication must be precise. My feel from him is that he’s very intense, focused, and wants to win but knows how to interact with his players. He’s not just an all-football guy, you can have a normal conversation with him – which I appreciate. I think he has that balance that you need. But he knows when to lock in and everyone here knows the expectations.
The Spun: What’s the biggest difference between Dabo Swinney and Urban Meyer?
TL: I think their personalities are different. Coach Swinney is a bit more goofy and loose, I guess. The structure in the way they do things is very similar though. Like I said, communication and the culture they want to establish is the same thing. They make it super clear, so there’s no excuse for someone to not know what the goal is here. Coach Swinney did that at Clemson and Coach Meyer does that in Jacksonville. I think any great leader needs to do that.
🔊👇 Audio pic.twitter.com/gkuJ34vjtr
— SiriusXM NFL Radio (@SiriusXMNFL) May 19, 2021
The Spun: What was your initial reaction to the Tim Tebow signing?
TL: It’s just crazy. Imagine if you told me that when I was probably 10 or 11 years old watching Tim Tebow play at Florida – honestly, I have to check those years [laughing.] It’s wild and weird how things work out, but I’m really excited to play with him and have a guy like that around. He’s a hard worker, a great character and what he brings to a locker room is special. People just want to be around him. I’m excited for him to be here and I know a lot of the other guys are too. It’s going to be fun.
The Spun: Have you received any advice from former or current NFL quarterbacks as to what to expect in the NFL?
TL: I’ve talked to Peyton Manning here and there over the past few years. I haven’t talked to him super recently, but the main thing I learned from him is to go to work and not worry about everything else going on. Don’t worry about meeting expectations, just put your head down and go to work. You need to earn that respect. As a quarterback, you’re usually the leader of the team. But as a rookie, you need to come in and earn that leadership, it’s not just given. So, I’m doing whatever I can to be prepared each day and show the guys that I’m here to work. I’m trying to lead by example.
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) May 15, 2021
The Spun: Does having Travis Etienne by your side make the transition from college to the pros a bit easier?
TL: It’s great because it’s one less thing that’s new. Everything has been new these last few months. When you come to Jacksonville, you’re trying to get used to your new routines, teammates, coaches and all of those things, so that’s just one thing I can just carry over from Clemson. Obviously, he is a great player and he’s going to help us win a lot of games too. Having that comfort is cool for both of us.
The Spun: What is Trevor Lawrence’s favorite Gatorade flavor?
TL: Go-to Gatorade flavor all-time has to be “Rain.” That’s probably my favorite. I like a lot of the Gatorade “BOLT24” flavors – “Tropical Mango” is pretty good. But all-time favorite has to be “Rain.”
— Gatorade (@Gatorade) April 23, 2021
The Spun: What do you think your Madden rating should be?
TL: I don’t know, man [laughing]. I know some dudes were getting roasted for what they were saying. What is it typically, mid-70s for rookies? I guess I’d say somewhere in the mid-70s.
The Spun: You’ve been labeled the best prospect since Peyton Manning. How do you handle those expectations?
TL: Keeping it all internal and being self-driven. I want to be a great player in the NFL. I’ve been able to accomplish a lot of things in high school and college, but going to the NFL is a different animal. If you talk to any great player, you’ll notice that everyone is self-driven. It’s not about what other people say or how talented other people say they are. They want to be the best because they want to maximize their potential. That’s how I see myself and why I come into work every day and prepare the way I do. I’m trying to be the best that I can be, and hopefully, that’ll end up making me the best at some point. But all you can really do is try to be the best version of yourself.
Wild: The #Jaguars couldn't get in touch with Trevor Lawrence on draft night. They called 3 times (!) while they were on the clock and it went straight to voicemail.
Lawrence finally picked up when Urban Meyer called from his cell.
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) May 21, 2021
The Spun: There was a fun video shown of the Jaguars calling you for the draft, but it went to voicemail. Were you a bit nervous since the clock was winding down?
TL: Well, they told me that the call probably wasn’t going to come in until a little later. I was waiting for the call, and I should probably mention that I have terrible service at my house in Clemson. It wasn’t that late since there was a minute or two remaining on the clock, so I wasn’t too worried. It was somewhat weird just waiting for the phone to ring though.
The Spun: How excited are you to play in front of packed stadiums again?
TL: I’m super excited. I think one of the special things about football is the fans and the atmosphere. Being able to be a part of that, you can’t really replicate that. The game is still the same without the fans from a technical standpoint, but it doesn’t feel the same. So, I’m excited to get back to normal. It’s fun to see what fans bring to the game. They just make the atmosphere so much fun, whether you’re playing at home in front of all your fans or on the road. I’m excited to be in Jacksonville with a new fan base. It’s going to be a really fun year.
— Trevor Lawrence (@Trevorlawrencee) May 15, 2021
There’ll be a lot of pressure on Lawrence to succeed in his rookie season with the Jaguars. That being said, he’s proven time and again that he can handle all the outside noise.
You can read more of our interviews with athletes or media stars here.