Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence confirmed an expected move in his future Saturday morning ahead of his team Clemson putting its preseason number one ranking to the test in Winston-Salem Saturday night at the start of a very strange season as a result of the pandemic.
Lawrence added to the uncommon nature of the times with his day-of-the-game announcement that he’ll go pro a year early following his December graduation, a pending move that even head coach Dabo Swinney has acknowledged in recent weeks. It’s very likely that the junior will be the top overall pick in next spring’s NFL Draft.
Lawrence broke the news on ESPN’s Gameday program.
The Tigers were initially scheduled to open their 12-game regular season schedule September 3rd at home against Georgia Tech and will instead play an 11-game schedule this season. There are 10 ACC opponents now on the Tigers’ slate and one non-conference foe, The Citadel visiting Death Valley next Saturday.
The changed schedule includes no match-up with rival South Carolina for the first time in over 100 years.
Lawrence and running back Travis Etienne enter the season as the top two in the ACC Preseason Player Of The Year vote and each is a legitimate Heisman Trophy contender.
Etienne enters the season about 500 yards away from the ACC career rushing mark.
The question marks on Clemson’s offense are at wide receiver, where reliable target Tee Higgins has moved on and junior Justyn Ross is out for the season due to injury, and offensive line, where there are four new starters.
Defensively, true freshman Brian Bresee and Myles Murphy are among the top five nationally in their recruiting class and are expected to make an immediate impact.
Throughout the preseason, Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney has repeatedly noted that he believes his back seven is the best the program has had on his watch despite the fact it returns just two starters from last year, linebacker James Skalski and cornerback Derion Kendrick, a preseason all-ACC performer who actually was listed next to junior LeAnthony Williams on the pregame depth chart.
Clemson tries for a 12th straight win against Wake Forest, a team it’s handled by a combined score of 115-6 the past two seasons. The Tigers are 10-1 in season openers under Swinney and open on the road against an ACC opponent for the first time since a 1996 visit to North Carolina.
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