Former Clemson Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence had every reason to host his pro day Friday, a month ahead of schedule. Lawrence wanted to prove to an NFL team that he could do well when things didn’t go his way.
“The original plan was to train in California for two months and then come back on March 11 and put on a show, but life happens sometimes,” Lawrence told the ACC/ESPN2 Network after a 45-minute training session in Clemson on Friday. “I just had to adjust and show that I can adjust and always be ready to come here, pitch and give the team a chance to see me, it was important for me and my team to make sure we did.”
“Of course it wasn’t necessarily the ideal situation and conditions, but I think we maneuvered well and sailed through everything.”
Lawrence advanced professionally because he needed surgery to repair the plaque damage in his left shoulder (which wasn’t hit by the jet), and he wanted it fully repaired before training camp began in July. At the closed training facility in Clemson, he threw about 40 passes – mostly from under center – to receivers Cornell Powell, Charone Peake, Caleb Scott and Chris Fink.
Lawrence said he hopes to begin launching within six to eight weeks of surgery and be in top shape within four to five months.
On Friday, Lawrence threw a series of passes that included several kicks and ended with a 65-yard throw on a broken play where he scored before running the ball. The shot was recognized both on the show and on social media by the ESPN team. But ESPN NFL draft analyst Todd McShay, who was at the practice, was more impressed with Lawrence’s work in the red zone.
“Take the ball quickly and throw it high where the defender can’t get it,” McShay said on the broadcast. “I saw that regularly today in the red zone, just the ability to throw the ball high in that spot, the placement of the ball.”
“Yeah, the deep throws were great, and the vertical throws are what everybody loves…. But in the red zone, you can learn a little bit more about the quarterback, how quickly he takes the ball out and where he puts it.”
Thirty-one people from 17 NFL teams were expected at practice, including three from the Jacksonville Jaguars: head coach Urban Meyer, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and passing coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. The Jaguars were ranked No. 1 in the April 29 draft, and Meyer spent most of the workout alongside Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, just yards from Lawrence.
“Yes, yes. I saw it,” Lawrence said with a smile. “I’ve seen a lot of guys, but yeah, I saw him. I waved him away real quick. We can’t really communicate there. But yeah, it was cool to see all the teams there. It’s really cool. I’m glad I can still do it.”
Lawrence – who is 6 feet tall and weighs 90 pounds with 10-inch arms, 34½-inch hands and a 78¼-inch wingspan – said he was looking forward to learning the new offensive system and adjusting to life in the NFL. He said he loved the mental challenge of soccer, which is what every coach wants to hear.
“I think mentally, playing at the NFL level and what you have on your plate is obviously a little different,” Lawrence said. “I’m going to take the time, especially after surgery, to prepare mentally if I’m not physically able to, and if I am physically able to, I’m just going to get going and prepare. I’m just really excited about this challenge.
“I love to learn. It’s one of my favorite parts of the game. It’s so much fun to learn a new system and put the pieces of the puzzle together. It’s a lot of fun, so I would love to do it, but I think the most important thing is the mental development, the determination of the defense, the playbook and all that.”
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