It appears you can put this particular storyline to bed.
Like Tua Tagovailoa the year before, Trevor Lawrence has been the apple of NFL-types’ collective eyes as his prototypical frame and skillset — and his eye-popping performance in the College Football Playoff as a true freshman — has made the Clemson quarterback the “it” college football signal-caller this offseason. Some have even gone so far as to suggest that Lawrence should sit out the next two college football seasons to protect his 2021 draft stock; others have suggested that Lawrence should leave Clemson now and spend the next two seasons getting paid in one of the new professional football leagues and then enter the NFL draft when he’s eligible.
With all of the chatter from those with a vested interest in seeing such a talent leave college football very early, Lawrence had remained silent after his Tigers claimed their second national championship in three years in early January. Monday, though, Lawrence broke that radio silence and indicated that playing at least the next two seasons with the Tigers is the tack his playing career will take.
From The Athletic‘s Grace Raynor:
Asked specifically if he would consider sitting out in an effort to protect his health for an NFL future, the Georgia native answered with two resounding “No’s.” That’s not in the cards, he says.
“Everyone’s talking about that, but I don’t really care about that,” Lawrence said Monday evening in his first public interview since the College Football Playoff.
“It’s definitely not coming from me, all that stuff, so (I’ll) just kind of ignore it. Just keep working.
Lawrence went on to state that, even as he’s not getting paid, he’s fully embracing the current college football model.
“I think it’s just a different experience getting to be able to go to school with guys your age and being able to go through this experience of being in college,” the Freshman All-American said according to Raynor.
“It’s a grind. We’re balancing school and football and all that stuff, but getting to meet new people and make friends outside of football, I think it’s really important to do. And that’s one reason it’s cool that people who are playing football have to stay for three years. Other sports, like basketball, they can leave after a year. I think it’s just good we have to stay three years at least and we get to make a lot of friends and experience a lot of good things. So I definitely love being in college.”
Good for Lawrence, even as he will very likely be criticized for such a stance.
That being said, Lawrence, and those like him, should be permitted, at bare minimum, to capitalize off their names and likenesses while they’re in college. It’s the least the NCAA could and should do for what is essentially a free labor force that fuels what is a billion-dollar sports ATM for the schools that are a part of the “nonprofit” organization.