Quarterback Trevor Lawrence #16 runs the football as wide receiver Diondre Overton #14 of the Clemson Tigers blocks cornerback Kindle Vildor #20 of the Georgia Southern Eagles during the football game at Clemson Memorial Stadium on September 15, 2018 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images)
Photo: Mike Comer/Getty Images
Photo: Mike Comer/Getty Images

Cartersville’s Trevor Lawrence named Clemson’s starting QB

That didn’t take long.

Freshman Trevor Lawrence of Cartersville is the new starting quarterback for third-ranked Clemson, replacing senior Kelly Bryant. — for now.

The move doesn't mean Bryant is being benched, or won't regain the starting spot. Though Clemson coach Dabo Swinney isn't saying much about the change.

The team announced the decision Monday, a day after Swinney cut off potential quarterback questions on a teleconference Sunday night.

"I won't get into any rotation or depth chart moves tonight," the coach said.

But actions often speak louder than words.

On Monday morning the team put out a simple statement saying that Lawrence will start for the Tigers (4-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) against Syracuse (4-0, 1-0) on Saturday.

Lawrence's improvement and production, particularly in last week's 49-21 victory at Georgia Tech, could not be ignored, according to Clemson co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott.

"It just came down to, you've got to reward productivity," Elliott said. "If you look at (Lawrence's) opportunities, he's taken advantage of them. Kelly didn't do anything wrong."

Elliott cautioned that Lawrence's elevation is just for this week and the competition with Bryant for playing time will continue.

"Kelly has done a lot for this team," Elliott said. "Again, this is just this week."

The 6-foot-6 Lawrence was the country's top quarterback prospect this past year. He enrolled in January, went through spring drills and competed with Bryant throughout the offseason for the starting spot.

Bryant came out on top to start the season, though, as Lawrence played all four games as the second QB in in Clemson's two-player rotation.

But Lawrence has been the most effective of the two since the season started.

He completed 13 of 18 passes for 176 yards and a career-high four touchdown throws to rally the Tigers offense after a slow start with Bryant behind center.

Lawrence led Clemson on four TD drives in a five-series span in the second and third quarters as the team took control of the Yellow Jackets. He was named the ACC's rookie of the week.

Statistically, Lawrence has outplayed Bryant.

Lawrence has completed 39 of 60 passes for 600 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions. Bryant has thrown for 461 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in four games.

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