CLEMSON — Trevor Lawrence is perhaps college football's most recognizable player, with his 2019 College Football Playoff offensive MVP award and his trademark golden blond locks.

Clemson fans come to Death Valley wearing jerseys bearing his number (16) and blond wigs.

He's featured on Tigers promotional material. In a sport where players' faces are hidden behind masks, Lawrence is the rare national star.


Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) is one of the most popular college football players in the nation. File/Gwinn Davis/Special to The Post and Courier

NCAA rules, however, prohibit college athletes from benefiting from their name, image and likeness (NIL). That is set to change after the NCAA's Board of Governors voted last week to update their bylaws by January 2021. 

Lawrence, though, is skeptical that NIL benefits can be folded into the collegiate model. 

"I don't get paid to do that," he said Monday. "I don't think it will affect me. I think that'll be a couple years down the road. It'll be something that will be; it'll be tough. I don't know how you really make that work  because there's got to be a limit, I think, on that."

In the wake of Lawrence's freshman season, during which he completed 259 of 397 passes for 3,280 yards and 30 touchdowns with just four interceptions, many pundits said the quarterback could have been the No. 1 overall selection in the 2019 NFL draft had he been eligible.

Lawrence went 20-of-32 passing for 347 yards and three touchdowns in the Tigers' 44-16 national championship win over Alabama. The sophomore said Monday he isn't sure how to properly integrate NIL.

"They can figure that out," he said. "I don't know what the answer is to that."

Lawrence, who ranks eighth in the nation in quarterback rating (82.4) this season, expressed a similar perspective to that of head coach Dabo Swinney.


Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) tucks the ball and cuts upfield. The Clemson Tigers played host to the Wofford Terriers at Memorial Stadium in Clemson Saturday, Nov. 2. File/Gwinn Davis/Special to The Post and Courier

“I’ve always said I’m against the professionalization of college athletics and the devaluation of education,” Swinney said last week. “If we professionalize college we might as well coach the pros.

“I think it’s a positive that there’s going to be some conversation. But I’m for the collegiate model, I’m 100 percent for the collegiate model and the value of education. That’s never going to change with me. Our country needs that and these kids need that.”

Follow Joshua Needelman on Twitter at @joshneedelman.

Joshua Needelman covers Clemson for The Post and Courier. He's a Long Island, N.Y., native and a University of Maryland graduate.

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