Clemson star quarterback Trevor Lawrence announced Wednesday that his college football career has ended and he will instead pursue opportunities as a professional. The presumptive No. 1 overall pick indicated that he will declare for the 2021 NFL Draft in a video released through the Tigers where Lawrence thanks fans, teammates and coaches for his time at Clemson.
Lawrence led Clemson to a national championship in 2018 as a true freshman and was a Heisman Trophy finalist this season, finishing second in balloting. He was instrumental in the Tigers winning three straight ACC championship and advancing to the College Football Playoff in each of the last three seasons. Clemson also played for the national title in consecutive campaigns, though it lost in 2019 to LSU.
Lawrence started 36 of the 40 games for which he was active after being inserted as starter early in his freshman season. He compiled a 34-2 record with a perfect 11-0 mark in Clemson's national championship season. His losses in each of the last two years came in the CFP.
As a senior, Lawrence completed 69.2% of his passes for 3,153 yards with 24 touchdowns and five interceptions plus another eight touchdowns on the ground. For his career, Lawrence threw for 10,098 yards over 40 games with 90 passing touchdowns, 17 interceptions, 943 yards rushing and 18 rushing touchdowns. He finishes third on the school's all-time leading passer list.
Though he previously left the door open for a possible return to Clemson in 2021, Lawrence has made it known that his intentions have been to declare for the draft. "My mindset has been that I'm gonna move on," Lawrence said in October, "but who knows? There's a lot of things that could happen."
With Lawrence's departure, college football loses not only one of its best players but also one of its biggest faces following an unprecedented season. Lawrence was an ambassador for the issues facing college athletes in 2020. He was one of multiple high-profile players -- alongside Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields and Alabama running back Najee Harris -- to promote the #WeWantToPlay movement in August when a college football season appeared on the brink due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The junior was also a vocal advocate for the Black Lives Matter movement when it reached a fever pitch over the summer in the wake of George Floyd's murder.
Lawrence leaves behind a powerful legacy as a player who not only helped Clemson win its third national title but gave a voice to those who play the game. He is often one of the first names to be mentioned among college football's best players, and barring something unforeseen in the next few months, he is likely to hear his name called first by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on draft night.