Barring the unforeseen, Clemson expects to have freshman starting quarterback Trevor Lawrence available for Saturday's game against Wake Forest, with coach Dabo Swinney saying to reporters on Tuesday that Lawrence has gone through concussion protocol. Lawrence, who made his first career start in Week 5, left during the second quarter of a 27-23 win over Syracuse after taking a brutal hit to the head and neck area on a scramble. That injury has since been labeled as more of a neck injury.
"I definitely expect him to play," Swinney said. "I don't see any reason why he wouldn't."
Clemson didn't feel comfortable enough to put Lawrence back into the game, even though the Tigers were playing from behind. Lawrence was announced as the starter the week before following a strong performance against Georgia Tech. He had been splitting time with senior Kelly Bryant, but it was clear Lawrence was better at moving the offense. Bryant then opted to transfer from the program to preserve his final year of eligibility.
That left Clemson with freshman Chase Brice once Lawrence was knocked out of the Syracuse game. The unintended consequence of the NCAA's new redshirt rule is that it could leave certain positions -- in this case quarterback -- thin and inexperienced with a midseason transfer. Though it appears Lawrence's injury was more of a scare, it nevertheless put the Tigers in a worst-case scenario.
That said, Clemson is comfortable with playing Brice if need be. But Swinney made the decision to go with Lawrence and stick with him no matter what. Chances are, if Lawrence was already back at practice on Monday, he's going to be ready in Week 6.