UGA is beginning to have an embarrassment of riches at the quarterback spot. The nation’s No. 1 QB for 2016 (Jacob Eason) arrives in January. The nation’s No. 3 passer in the next class (Bailey Hockman) will show up in January of 2017.
That’s a loaded progression, but that didn’t stop UGA from offering in-state standout Trevor Lawrence of Cartersville on Sunday night. The 6-foot-5, 190-pounder told the AJC he spoke to both offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and head coach Mark Richt about the offer.
“They just wanted to apologize and said they are really patient and want to keep building the relationship with me,” Lawrence said. “They said that I am their guy for this quarterback class. They said they hoped I’m excited about this offer and I really am.”
Lawrence said the offer was one he really wanted to get. He also told the AJC he understood why UGA took its time waiting to extend that opportunity.
“I get it,” Lawrence said. “They’ve already got their two quarterbacks for the next three or four years in Eason and Hockman. I understand all of that. I’m fine with it. I am just happy that they did offer me. They’ve got quarterback all lined up for them for awhile.”
Here’s the beyond obvious question: Why would he ever go to UGA? If Eason plays right away in 2016, there would be at least two years of separation between the two. Hockman is another matter entirely.
If Lawrence went to UGA, those two would likely battle for a job in 2018 that Hockman had waited on for at least a year. That’s not counting any eligibility from the current quarterbacks on UGA’s depth chart.
There’s a plausible scenario where he might have to wait until 2020 to start.
“Its going to be a hard decision wherever I go,” Lawrence said. “If I want to go to Georgia and that’s where I want to go the players there are not going to scare me off. I think I can compete. Eason would probably be out of there. I might have one year with him and I would have to compete with Bailey (Hockman).”
He said that UGA definitely jumps to one of his top three offers with today’s news. He needs more time to think about it, but would initially place UGA right behind Tennessee with the schools he’s considering now. He also had Duke and LSU among his top group.
“I probably need more time to think about it,” he said. “I need some more time and to go see some games to really know it. If i had to say where I am at right now I’d probably say Tennessee is my number one school and a real close second would be Georgia.”
Here’s the reality check: Lawrence would not enroll until January of 2018 even on the most aggressive timeline.
Lawrence said he hoped he would know which school he wanted to commit to by this time next summer. He also said Schottenheimer shared his initial scouting assessment from when he first evaluated him back in the spring.
“He just told me about last night at Dawg Night and I just wanted to let me know I had an offer,” Schottenheimer said. “He said from ever since the first day he saw me at our spring game that he’s known that he wanted to offer me. I guess it just took them a little longer to go about it which is fine.”
The 6-foot-5, 186-pounder now has 11 offers from Power 5 schools. Lawrence said he actually appreciated the way UGA went about the process of choosing to offer him.
“I think I actually respect the way they went about it,” he said. “I like the way they did it. They weren’t one of the schools that just offered me when I started getting big to just offer me and didn’t need to see me or talk to me to offer me. I like the way they did it, but I think I definitely did earn the offer so I am happy with it all.”
Lawrence was born in Tennessee.
“That’s my favorite team,” he said earlier this summer. “That’s my family’s favorite team.”
He told the AJC earlier this summer that starting as a freshman wasn’t a priority for him. It was the right fit. Maxpreps.com him its 2014 National Freshman of the Year after he led Cartersville to a 12-2 record by throwing for 3,042 yards and 26 touchdowns.
He’s grown about two inches and put on 15 pounds since last fall. He started out throwing the quick routes, but eventually began making his own reads midway through the year and firing the ball downfield. Lawrence threw seven interceptions last year. He also had two fumbles against Buford.
“I think I did pretty well last year,” Lawrence said. “I think I need to work on definitely not turning the ball over as much myself. I had a couple of turnovers against Buford. I have got to work on that and I got to work on getting smarter and learning this offense.”
He had three picks against North Cobb in the second game of his freshman season. An injury forced him into his first extensive playing time. He did not throw another interception until the state playoffs rolled around.
His arm has gotten “a lot stronger” since last season. He had a pair of uncles who played college football on a smaller stage. His father is 6 feet, 7 inches tall and also played college basketball.
Jeff Sentell covers UGA recruiting for AJC.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges.