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COLUMN: Move over Tua, it's Trevor's time



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Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence puts the ball in the air against Notre Dame in the third quarter during the Cotton Bowl Classic Dec. 29, 2018, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Clemson advanced to the national championship, 30-3.  Tribune News Service Buy Photos

There were a handful of things fans knew about Trevor Lawrence when he signed with the Clemson Tigers. 

He is tall, 6-feet-6-inches but lanky. He was a five-star stud out of Cartersville, Georgia, where he won the Hall Trophy given to the most outstanding high school player in the country. His long, flowing blonde hair looks eerily similar to Sunshine from "Remember the Titans."

But most important, fans knew he had to wait.

The highly touted freshman would have to bide his time behind senior Kelly Bryant, who took the Tigers to the College Football Playoff the previous season. 

Lawrence played intermittently early this season, mostly in mop-up duty. But in those blowouts you know his time was nearing.

Lawrence’s breakout game came in a 49-21 victory over Georgia Tech. He completed 13-of-18 passes for 176 yards and four touchdowns. Lawrence was officially named the starter a few days after that. 

Lawrence’s spectacular regular season ended with 24 touchdowns to just four interceptions, while throwing for 2,606 yards. He also won Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year and lead Clemson to a 13-0 record and No. 2 ranking. 

But Lawrence and the rest of the Tigers knew being perfect was not enough. They had one goal since losing to the Crimson Tide in the College Football Playoff semifinal last year: beat the University of Alabama. 

Lawrence first had to go toe-to-toe with the University of Notre Dame. He torched the Irish on 27-of- 39 passing for 327 yards, three touchdowns and no turnovers in a 30-3 rout. 

With Alabama's win over the University of Oklahoma on the other side of the bracket, the stage was once again set for Alabama-Clemson.

It was a dual we had seen three straight years prior, two of which took place in the national championship. The Crimson Tide had taken two out of three against the Tigers. 

Lawrence knew he had to even things up.

Standing across from him on the Alabama sideline was sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. The Hawaiian southpaw came into the 2018 National Championship game for  junior Jalen Hurts and, despite not having any significant snaps throughout the season, won Alabama another national championship. 

Tagovailoa became the star of the college football world. 

Tua, Trevor and history were ready for something special Monday in Santa Clara. The only issue was one side was significantly more special than the other.

While Tagovailoa struggled, including an early pick-six and another interception on an overthrown ball, Lawrence thrived effortlessly. 

Pick a positive adjective and that is what the freshman was. He was poised, aware and ready as he picked apart the Tide’s defense. He finished with 347 yards and three touchdowns. When he needed to pick up crucial first downs at the end of the game, he used his legs for that.

Clemson sent a statement with their 44-16 victory over the Tide for their second title in four years. 

After the game, Lawrence was asked how many more championships he expects to win at Clemson and responded with, “at least three more.” 

With the way the new star of college football played, his words have merit.

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