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Trevor Lawrence
Dabo Swinney
Clemson Football

'We are built on team': Swinney says Lawrence is the best, but Heisman isn't the goal

December 2, 2020

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If Clemson was going to make a compelling push for a Heisman run by star quarterback Trevor Lawrence, it might have come during yesterday’s media availability with Dabo Swinney. 

Lawrence, who has shown little interest in individual accolades, returned with great fanfare from his extended period away from the gridiron, and the national championship-winning quarterback didn’t disappoint. Lawrence went 26-37 passing for 403 yards and two touchdowns in his return.

That performance – coupled with his incredible career at Clemson – once again reminded the college football world that Lawrence was a force to be reckoned with.

But the 6-foot-6 bomber is part of something much bigger in Tiger Town.

"Well, I mean, if our goal was for him to win the Heisman, he'd be leading the Heisman right now,” Dabo Swinney said on Tuesday. “There's no doubt about that. But that's not our goal. Our goal is to win the game.”

During his time at Clemson, the Tigers are in incredible 37-2 while spending the majority of that time ranked in the Top 4. Even still, with the success the Tigers have had, Lawrence has spent countless minutes of game action watching from the sidelines and soaking in the spoils of victory.

“He's only played in like 20 of his 37 fourth quarters that he's been in. So almost half his games, he hasn't played in the fourth quarter,” Swinney noted of Lawrence’s stats. “He's been on a dominant football team. We've won more games in the last five years and anybody in the history of college football.”

Lawrence’s 2020 season has seen the junior throw for 2,236 yards and 19 touchdowns while rushing for four more in just seven games.

Trevor Lawrence Career Stats by Season

“He's been a dominant player. And unfortunately, the Heisman is a lot about stats, and Trevor stats are through the roof,” Swinney said. “They're crazy stats, and if that was our No. 1 goal was to win a Heisman, we'd already have one, but that’s not the goal.”

As for Lawrence, he says the Heisman is certainly something he thought about growing up. 

"It would be a huge honor. Something I grew up-- I wouldn't say necessarily dreaming about-- that wasn't ever the main goal for me here,” Lawrence noted. “That's obviously something as a kid, it's cool to look at it and be like, 'Man, I hope I can do that one day,' so I've definitely had that thought.”

While the Tigers continue their quest for the ultimate team reward, Swinney’s words may have put a bit more focus, possibly with intention, on Lawrence as the Tigers head into the stretch run.

“It would be a huge honor, and whoever wins that deserves it. Obviously, you're playing a super high level if you can win that award, but if I win it, that'll be great,” Lawrence said. “It'd be a huge honor for me. It’d be big for Clemson University, for my family, and I'd love that, but it doesn't change anything. I still know who I am. I still believe in myself and have confidence in myself.”

That confidence has carried Lawrence to incredible heights, including a .970 winning percentage as the starting quarterback (best in major college football dating back to 1978). But those wins are a result of the team and not one player.

“This is not a program built on individual things. We are built on team,” Swinney reminded everyone. “The trophy we want to win is the team trophy.”

Yet, for Swinney, the pitch for why Lawrence should hoist the 45-pound statue of Clemson’s former head coach John Heisman on Jan. 5 is a simple one.

“The best player in the country is Trevor Lawrence. I don't really care what anybody says-- and there's a lot of great players out there, but the best player in the country is Trevor Lawrence,” Swinney continued. “That's just the way it is, and he doesn't need to win the Heisman for that to be the case.”

If you don’t believe Swinney, you have a couple of options: flip on the tape, or watch the NFL Draft.

“This guy-- play in play out if you really watch him, it's unbelievable. And that's why he'll be the first pick in the draft, and it won't be close.

“It won't be close."

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'We are built on team': Swinney says Lawrence is the best, but Heisman isn't the goal

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