Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence has made it official — he’s heading to the NFL.

Lawrence, the 6-foot-6 QB with the power arm and flowing hair, released a video on social media Wednesday announcing he was leaving school and declaring for the NFL draft.

“I really feel like I’m a man now and I’m ready to take on those challenges,” Lawrence said. “Super excited for life ahead. I’m grateful for Clemson and I’m going to miss it.”

Lawrence had said in September he planned to play his junior season, graduate in December and move on to the NFL. However, in October, Lawrence discussed keeping his options open, which included possibly returning for another year of college as discussions of the No. 1 pick intensified between the then winless New York Jets and the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Jaguars finished 1-15 and have the top pick in the draft and are expected to take Lawrence.

He finished 34-2 in his college career, leading Clemson to three Atlantic Coast Conference titles and the national title after the 2018 season. He finished second in the Heisman Trophy race Tuesday night to Alabama receiver DeVonta Smith.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney had often called Lawrence the best player in college football, no matter who won awards.

“There will be a lot of people trying to live up to the standard that he set as a quarterback for a long time in this game,” Swinney said before the Tigers’ 49-28 Sugar Bowl loss to Ohio State that ended their season a game short of the national title contest.

Lawrence was the epitome of cool and confident almost from the moment he arrived at Clemson in January 2018. It took four games as a freshman before he became the starting quarterback and never surrendered the position — except for two games this season he missed after testing positive for COVID-19.

Lawrence led the Tigers to the national title in 2018, dismantling powerhouse Alabama 44-16 as he threw for 347 yards and three touchdowns to complete a 15-0 season.

Clemson and Lawrence looked they would make it two in a row a year ago before falling to LSU 42-25 to end a 29-game win streak in the national championship game.

Lawrence acknowledged he had decisions to make this season as the coronavirus pandemic raged across the country and many wondered if anyone should play college football. But Lawrence among other players like Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, pushed to keep the game going this fall.

Lawrence began a GoFundMe page this spring to help those needing help handling the virus and was instrumental in Clemson’s social and racial justice efforts this summer.

On the field, Lawrence finished with 10,098 yards passing with 90 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. This year, he completed a career best 69.1 percent of his throws on the way to winning ACC player of the year.

Lawrence believed he became a better person by remaining in school and graduating with a bachelor’s in marketing.

“I’ve learned a lot about myself about, who I want to be, just all those things,” he said.

LSU: Coach Ed Orgeron hired Jake Peetz as his offensive coordinator and DJ Mangas as passing game coordinator, luring both coaches away from the NFL’s Carolina Panthers.

Peetz and Mangas, whose hirings were announced Wednesday, both worked as offensive assistants alongside Panthers offensive coordinator and former LSU passing game coordinator Joe Brady.

Brady helped spearhead the offensive game plans in 2019, when LSU went unbeaten and won the national championship.

This season, Peetz, who has spent 10 seasons in the NFL, served as the Panthers’ quarterbacks coach. Mangas was an assistant this season to Brady, with whom he also worked at LSU in 2019, when he served as an offensive analyst.

The hirings come on the heels of considerable turnover on Orgeron’s staff after LSU finished the season 5-5 and elected to self-impose a one-year bowl ban because of findings in an NCAA probe into players or their families receiving improper benefits dating back before Orgeron took over as the permanent head coach after the 2016 season.

Outgoing offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger retired from full-time coaching, but to remain with the program as an analyst. Passing game coordinator Scott Linehan is leaving the program, as is defensive coordinator Bo Pelini. Defensive line coach Bill Johnson also is retiring but planning to continue working as an analyst for LSU.

MEMPHIS: Quarterback Brady White has won the William V. Campbell Trophy given to the top scholar-athlete in college football.

White was one of 12 finalists for the Campbell Trophy selected by the National Football Foundation. As the winner, White receives a $25,000 postgraduate scholarship.

The sixth-year senior is working on a doctorate in liberal studies. He came to Memphis as a graduate transfer after earning a business degree in three years at Arizona State and then earned a master’s in sports administration in one year at Memphis.

White passed for 3,380 yards this season and 31 touchdowns.

Previous Campbell Trophy winners include Tennessee’s Peyton Manning and Florida’s Tim Tebow. Last year’s winner was Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert.

N.C. STATE: Quarterback Bailey Hockman says he plans to leave the 24th-ranked Wolfpack as a graduate transfer.

Hockman posted a statement on social media Wednesday announcing his decision. It came after the redshirt junior and former Florida State transfer started nine games for N.C. State, helping the Wolfpack to eight wins and an appearance in the Gator Bowl.

Hockman threw for 1,820 yards and 12 touchdowns for N.C. State, starting the first two games before Devin Leary took over after being sidelined for much of preseason camp due to COVID-19 protocols.


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