CLEMSON — On the day that he signed his National Letter of Intent, making it official that he, the best high school quarterback in the nation, would finally be pledging his services to Clemson, Trevor Lawrence decided he wanted the day to be drama-free.
There would be no big ceremony with the press — just the local newspaper in attendance.
There would be no grand gestures that Signing Day always inevitably brings with it — just him and his letter.
The hype, he knew, would kick in even more than it already had once he packed his bags and arrived in the upstate to put on a Clemson jersey for the first time — and so for one day, Lawrence stayed as low-key as possible.
Certainly he enjoyed it.
Those days are now over.
One way or another, the freshman phenom is going to be the center of every storyline and every ounce of chatter around the Clemson football team in 2018. And one way or another, he is going to have a tremendous impact on how the Tigers fare as they look to head back to their fourth straight College Football Playoff.
To Clemson's delight, the Tigers have no reason to believe Lawrence isn't ready for the amount of pressure about to be thrown his way. But certainly, his life is set to change dramatically.
"Just poise. He's a very poised young player. He's been exposed to a lot. He's a kid that has been starting since the ninth grade," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. "He's very well-groomed and very well-prepared to take the next step. He has not been overwhelmed at all from a confidence standpoint. His demeanor has not changed all spring whether he (was) with the 3s or the 1s. He's off to a really good start."
What makes Lawrence so monumental to the 2018 football team is that he still has the rare ability to majorly impact the success of this Clemson squad even if he is not the starting quarterback.
If Lawrence wins the starting quarterback job at any point over incumbent Kelly Bryant, the team will be in the young 18-year-old's hands — a task that speaks for itself. But if he does not win the starting job, it will mean Bryant earned the nod over the best high school football player in America fair and square. It will mean Lawrence challenged Bryant so consistently, and Bryant still came out on top, that Clemson would have no other choice than to believe its offense was in the best care possible. Either way, Lawrence's role bodes well for Clemson and in all likelihood, the two quarterbacks will both contribute in some way.
While Bryant is more flexible with his legs and was second on Clemson's team last year for rushing touchdowns with 11, Lawrence relies more on his revered arm. Combined, their skillset gives the Tigers the complete package.
"You like having guys in the room that want to compete, want to be that guy," Bryant said. "And I know the feeling that they have, so I'm going to have that same mindset that I had last spring all year long."
Lawrence comes to Clemson by way of Cartersville, Ga., where he broke state records for passing yards and touchdown passes that were previously held by Deshaun Watson. Lawrence's senior season alone, he threw 41 touchdown passes up against just one pick and in 12 games he threw for 3,396 yards, completing 177 of 256 passes.
Clemson players, particularly its wide receivers, have gone on record saying they would be happy with either quarterback. Should that quarterback be Lawrence, the hoopla would kick into next gear.
"(Trevor will have) the same opportunity everybody else has: come to practice, put in the work, everything counts," Swinney said. "The best guy plays."
Clemson's Top Most Important Football Players:
10. K Greg Huegel
3. WR Tee Higgins
2. QB Trevor Lawrence
1. Coming Sunday