It’s not just offseason Heisman hype in which Justin Fields and Trevor Lawrence are connected.
Tuesday, the AAU Sullivan Award announced the 30 semifinalists for its 2020 trophy, which is handed out annually to the nation’s top amateur athlete. Just two of the semifinalists are college football players — Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields and Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
The two players, who are both rising third-year juniors, have been connected to one another going back to their days in high school.
Both played their high school ball in the state of Georgia. Lawrence was the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2018. The No. 2 player? Fields. Lawrence’s Tigers, of course, beat Fields’ Buckeyes in a come-from-behind win in one of the two 2019 College Football Playoff semifinal matchups this past season.
Justin Fields and Trevor Lawrence will be looking to become the first football player to win the award since Navy’s Keenan Reynolds in 2016. That year, Reynolds actually shared the award with UConn women’s basketball player Breanna Stewart.
Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott was the 2015 winner of the Sullivan, while Penn State offensive lineman John Urschel claimed the 2014 honor. Six other college football players have earned an honor handed out annually since 1930: Felix “Doc” Blanchard (Army, 1945), Arnold Tucker (Army, 1946), Charlie Ward (Florida State, 1993), Peyton Manning (Tennessee, 1997), Tim Tebow (Florida, 2007) and Andrew Rodriguez (Army, 2011) .
Athletic prowess, though, isn’t the only determining factor. From the Sullivan Award’s website:
Based on the qualities of leadership, character, sportsmanship, and the ideals of amateurism, the AAU Sullivan Award goes far beyond athletic accomplishments and honors those who have shown strong moral character.