The off season is in full swing and that leaves us with time to wonder who, how, and what’s coming next season. Not only for Clemson as a whole, but also for the individual players.
Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne, like last season, enter 2020 as two of the favorites to win the Heisman. While many fans will tell you they do not care, or that the Heisman carries no credibility these days, that certainly isn’t the case in the players eyes. In Clemson, team goals always come first, but it is silly to suggest players don’t care about winning such a prestigious award
Lawrence enters the 2020 season having completed 527 of his 804 career attempts, for 6,945 yards, with 66 TDs and 12 interceptions. He also enters next season with 967 rushing yards and 10 rushing TDs on 163 carries in his 2 years at Clemson.
He started the final 11 games in 2018 as a true freshman and helped Clemson become the first major college football team in the modern era to go 15-0. He also helped the Tigers win each of their last 10 games by 20 points or more.
Lawrence became the first true freshman quarterback to lead his team to a national title since 1985. The list of honors doesn’t end there. He was also a consensus freshman All-American, who earned numerous national and conference honors for both his athletic and academic success.
About the only award left for his trophy case is given out after the season in NY City and most of the early odds-makers give him 4:1 odds on getting it after his junior season.
Etienne comes into 2020 with 518 career carries, for 4,038 yards (7.8 YPC) with a school and ACC record 56 rushing TDs. He also has 54 career receptions for 567 yards and 6 receiving TDs in 43 career games. He begins next season as the Clemson and ACC career leader in rushing TDs (56), total TDs (60) and points by a non-kicker (372).
ETN has won back to back ACC Player of the Year awards, becoming the first RB to win the award in consecutive years since Mike Voight (1975 and 1976). He’s the only player in school history with multiple 1,500 yard rushing seasons and is one of only 16 P5 players since 2000 to reach the 1,500 yard mark in multiple seasons. He also set single-season school records in 2018 in rushing yards (1,658), yards per carry (8.1), rushing TDs (24), total TDs (26) and points scored (156).
Like Lawrence, the Heisman is missing from ETN’s trophy case and he would love to add that to his resume before taking his talents to the next level. Early odds give him a 20:1 shot of bringing Clemson’s first Heisman Trophy home.
Which of these Tigers has the better chance to win college football’s most coveted award? That depends on a number of things.
- Can Lawrence cut down on the interceptions? Many looked at his interceptions early as a reason to say that he was not playing at a high enough level, and they were the biggest reason he fell out of the race so quickly.
- Can ETN get enough carries to shatter the record book by an even wider margin than he has already?
- Can Lawrence get enough snaps? And will those snaps come against improved competition (the ACC was abysmal in 2019)?
- Can either avoid the stigma that is the ACC? The conference was bad last season and a repeat could lead voters to think it’s not worthy of one of it’s players winning the award.
- Do both playing on the same team hurt their chances due to a splitting of the votes?
These are just a few of the questions that many will look at even closer when once the season arrives. If last year serves as any indication, then it is possible many would think Lawrence has the far better shot, and that ETN will have to work really hard to win, it because he doesn’t seem to get the same kind of recognition.
Regardless, one thing Tiger fans can agree on is that it’s great knowing that two of the top six players in the country are both playing on Saturdays in Death Valley.