ATLANTA, Ga. — Trevor Lawrence continues to lead his team to victories at an astonishing rate.
That’s the main thing. Above all else.
“Cartersville football is what all of this is for,” he said. “That’s my second family. It means everything to me to come out and do this with my second family. That’s this team and that’s a really special group of people I get to play with.”
And there is a marching band line’s worth of everything else.
The nation’s No. 1 overall prospect for 2018 had his hands on the wheel of a repeat 15-0 season for his Cartersville Hurricanes. It looked like he was driving a drop-top convertible with those long locks of hair flapping behind him in the wind.
Lawrence and Co. led 34-7 at the half en route to a systematic 58-7 annihilation of a previously unbeaten Thomson team at the Georgia Dome on Saturday.
The shocking part? Cartersville head coach Joey King said his boys could play better. Lawrence agreed with that notion.
His stats weren’t great, but the 6-foot-6 field general did throw for 196 yards and 2 scores.
The 5-star passer finished his junior year with the following stat line: 250-of-406 through the air, 3,904 yards, 51 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. Those boost his career totals to 670 completions across his 1,080 attempts for 10,611 yards. The junior rounds out that stat line with 120 touchdowns and just 20 interceptions.
Where will he play? It still seems like Clemson and Georgia. There’s a vague finish line in sight, but there’s nothing specific.
“I think that now that our season is over I will start focusing on recruiting a little bit more because I wasn’t focusing on it much at all the past couple of weeks because of the playoffs,” Lawrence said. “I was focusing on my team. But now that our season is over I will start to go on some more visits and start to check things out. I don’t know when that will be. It might be here in another month. It might be a little longer. I don’t really know yet.”
It will be at least a month. The NCAA-mandated dead period for recruiting started at midnight. That prohibits face-to-face contact between coaches and recruiters until Jan. 12.
Is it just Clemson and Georgia? Will he consider a third team? If you know the game, the fear for those schools would have been Jimbo Fisher getting the job at LSU. That likely would’ve caught his eye. Fisher’s quarterback resume pretty much has NFL first-rounder stamped all over it.
“I don’t know about that,” Lawrence said. “I’m still not obviously closing off my recruiting. But if someone comes in and I feel like they are a good fit for me, then I will give them a chance.”
(Pretty sure I just lost a lot of college quarterback coaches and offensive coordinators after that last sentence. They will be off to war rooms figuring out their Lawrence PowerPoint presentations.)
But it is going to be hard to beat out Clemson or Georgia. Both schools have dug in. They’ve been core teams in his decision for years now. Both programs had multiple coaches at the Georgia Dome to see Lawrence.
Clemson hung around until the very end, though. That’s partly because they needed to check out 2017 quarterback commit Chase Brice in the nightcap.
I bet the fact that Clemson hung around on the sidelines until the end made an impression. Those assistants in orange and white were easy to spot.
Does he see himself making a commitment prior to the start of his senior season?
“Yeah maybe,” Lawrence said while dropping a long pause in there. “Um … Probably. I’m not really sure.”
My perception is that the decision has not been made. There’s not a silent commitment to think about here. It is Clemson and Georgia still jockeying for position. My guess is that the decision will be made sometime this spring.
Which team has an edge? I could go point and counterpoint here with a lot of stuff, but I do think Clemson has offered only Lawrence at quarterback for 2018.
That “All In” stuff definitely applies with this special player.
Lawrence takes aim at history
Georgia High School Football Daily reports that Cartersville is the 19th school in state history to win 30 straight games and the 11th to post repeat 15-0 seasons.
“We just won the 30th game in a row,” Lawrence said. “That’s all we are going to be worrying about here for a week or two. Then we are going to be working on getting another state championship next year.”
The 51-point winning margin ranked second in finals history behind Tift County’s 59-6 rout of LaGrange back in 1983.
He’s thrown for 100 more touchdowns than interceptions through three years of his varsity career. That’s significant because by my count because he’s one of only five passers in state history to have thrown for at least 100 touchdowns.
Lawrence stands about 1,500 yards and 39 passing touchdowns shy of breaking Clemson great Deshaun Watson’s state records in those categories.
Commitment and signing watch set for today
I’ll be making the trip to James Clemens High School in Alabama this morning to cover the Monty Rice signing for SEC Country and DawgNation.
The 3-star LB will graduate in December from the relatively new Huntsville-area program. He will enroll early at either Auburn, Georgia or LSU. That’s my take there.
Rice visited each of those schools over the last week. His last stop was in Athens.
My information tells me that Georgia was the favorite going in and I think the emotion and vibe he picked up from the rest of the commitments preserved that feeling.
The 6-foot-1, 227-pounder is more of a football player than an athlete. He’s rated as the nation’s No. 21 ILB prospect for 2017, but I think he plays fast in the SEC. Rice has been projected by DawgNation to become a future member of the Class of 2017 at UGA for quite some timee.
It is a big week for UGA with commitments. Georgia also could add the commitment of JUCO defensive back Lonnie Johnson Jr. on Tuesday evening. Johnson will commit from his high school program in Indiana.
Both Rice and Johnson took official visits to UGA over the weekend.
Gibbs sets his top 5
Priority UGA recruit DeAngelo Gibbs set his top 5 last night. The nation’s No. 3 safety and No. 40 overall prospect tweeted those out.
Thanks to everyone who recruited me but it's now narrowed down. Commitment 1/1/17 #Hercules
— Deangelo Gibbs (@TheHercules8) December 12, 2016
He took his last official visit to UGA and it definitely wasn’t easy to make that work.
His top 5 covers SEC country, but I deem it to be a top 2 between Alabama and Georgia. Nick Saban didn’t land a helicopter on the 50-yard line at Grayson High School on Thursday for nothing.
The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder still plans to make his decision known at the Under Armour All-America Game on Jan. 1.
A little Intel on Isaiah Wilson
Popular opinion would rank Brooklyn 5-star OT Isaiah Wilson as the biggest official visitor over the weekend. The 6-foot-7, 335-pounder gave UGA his last official visit and he’s set to make a public decision with a commitment on Christmas Day.
Wilson has declined interview requests coming out of that visit. He was so steadfast in that approach that he said he wouldn’t accept any interview requests well in advance of the visit.
UGA 4-star OT commit Netori Johnson told me over the weekend that he was going to make Wilson his utmost priority. Johnson will not take his official visit to UGA until January, but he took an unofficial visit to Athens over the weekend to work on Wilson.
His current and future teammate Justin Shaffer did the same, and he was joined by Andrew Thomas, another 4-star Georgia OL commit.
How did it go?
“I think we are going to get him,” Johnson said. “(Wilson) was cool people. I think we have a chance.”
Shaffer added his perspective.
“I think it went well for him,” Shaffer said. “I feel like he was getting that vibe more and more.”
The pictures that flowed out of this weekend’s official visit will not dispute that.
— JakefromStateFromm (@FrommJake) December 11, 2016
Chances with a big junior college DT?
Junior college DT Rosheem Collins visited UGA over the weekend. The Waycross, Ga., native left Athens without an offer, but that could come in the ensuing days.
Georgia showed Collins enough to commit quickly if that offer comes. He felt that getting to hang out with the players and spend a lot of time with the coaches was the best part.”
The 6-foot-1, 295-pounder saw a lot to like in Athens this weekend. The commits that were in town clearly impressed him.
“They’re pretty cool dudes that I would like to be teammates with,” Collins said.