Trevor Lawrence’s Clemson ‘Senior’ Day’ gives Jets draft hope

Trevor Lawrence's Clemson ‘Senior’ Day’ gives Jets draft hope

This should put an end to the narrative that Trevor Lawrence will go back to Clemson to avoid being drafted by the Jets.

The Tigers’ junior quarterback was honored as part of the team’s “Senior Day” ceremony before No. 4 Clemson beat Pittsburgh 52-17 on Saturday at Death Valley. He threw for 403 yards and two touchdowns in his first game in five weeks after testing positive for coronavirus.

Lawrence, who is expected to be the top pick in the 2021 NFL Draft — a position currently held by the Jets — said before the season he planned to graduate in December and enter the draft. But in October he left the door open for a to return to Clemson for his senior season.

“My mindset has been that I’m going to move on,” Lawrence told reporters at the time. “But who knows? There’s a lot of things that could happen.”

All other indications, including Saturday’s ceremony and comments by coach Dabo Swinney, point to Lawrence leaving for the NFL as expected and potentially to be the 0-10 Jets’ latest attempt at finding their next franchise quarterback since Joe Namath.

Clemson quarterback Trevor LawrenceAP

Lawrence finished 26-of-37 passing Saturday and improved to 32-1 as a starter. He got a huge cheer from the crowd, limited to 18,819 due to coronavirus restrictions, when he took a solo run down Clemson’s hill for those playing their final games at Memorial Stadium.

Lawrence hadn’t played in a game since beating Syracuse on Oct. 24. He tested positive for the coronavirus the following week and missed Clemson’s next two games, including the Tigers’ only defeat this season — a 47-40 double overtime loss at No. 2 Notre Dame. He expected to play last week, but a positive test from a Clemson offensive lineman on the Friday before the game led to a postponement of the Tigers’ scheduled game at Florida State just hours before kickoff.

— with AP