After finishing as a semifinalist last year, Cartersville High graduate and Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence has been selected to the Davey O'Brien Award watch list for the 2020 season.
Lawrence is one of 30 returning college quarterbacks on the list. He threw for 3,665 yards, 36 touchdowns and eight interceptions (none over his final eight games) last season in leading the Tigers to a 14-1 record. The 6-foot-6, 220-pound junior is also the presumptive top choice
in the 2021 NFL draft.
In Lawrence's career, Clemson is 29-1 with two ACC Championships and a College Football Playoff title following his freshman campaign. He has just shy of 7,000 career passing yards to go with 66 passing touchdowns, 740 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns, including nine in 2019.
"Compiled by a subset of the Davey O’Brien National Selection Committee, this year’s list was selected based on career player performance and expectations heading into the 2020 college football season," a news release stated. "All nominees are required to have previously started at least one game at an NCAA Division I institution. In keeping with the changing landscape of college athletics, new transfers were eligible to be included for the first time in the award’s history."
LSU's Joe Burrow won the award last season en route to being the No. 1 overall pick in this spring's NFL draft. Burrow's Tigers also defeated Lawrence's Tigers in the CFP National Championship Game in January.
Burrow continued a tradition of players winning the O'Brien Award and the Heisman Trophy. During the past decade, Cam Newton (Auburn, 2010), Robert Griffin III (Baylor, 2011), Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M, 2012), Jameis Winston (Florida State, 2013), Marcus Mariota (Oregon, 2014), Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma, 2017) and Kyler Murray (Oklahoma, 2018) also earned both honors during the same season. The lone outliers were when Clemson's Deshaun Watson took home back-to-back O'Brien Awards from 2015-16 but didn't win the Heisman either season.
Ohio State's Justin Fields, who attended Harrison High in Kennesaw, is the lone returning finalist from last year. Other semifinalists back on the watch list, aside from Lawrence, are Baylor’s Charlie Brewer, SMU's Shane Buechele, Texas’ Sam Ehlinger, Minnesota’s Tanner Morgan, Iowa State's Brock Purdy and Memphis’ Brady White. Georgia transfer Jamie Newman is also among those tabbed by the selection committee.
Per the release, 14 seniors, eight juniors and eight sophomores make up the list. The SEC and Big 12 lead the way with five nominees apiece, while the Big Ten (4), ACC (4) and AAC (3) also had three or more selections.
The final midseason watch list will be announced Oct. 20. Sixteen semifinalists selected from that list will be named Nov. 10. The three finalists will be tabbed two weeks later. The winner will be announced live on ESPN during The Home Depot College Football Awards Dec. 10.