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Trevor Lawrence: From HS Phenom to JAX’s Hope

February 20, 2023
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Many Jacksonville Jaguars fans celebrated when they got the first overall pick for the 2021 NFL Draft. Trevor Lawrence is the undisputed top quarterback in a draft full of franchise-quality signal callers, and they’re excited to start a new age of Jacksonville football.

However, the QB’s first season was mired with off-field issues and chaos, thanks to a problematic head coach unnecessarily stirring the pot. While he was understandably mediocre during that run, fans were still hopeful that he’d bounce back greatly.

And bounce back, he did.

Under the tutelage of a more reliable head coach, Lawrence led the Jaguars to a playoff appearance that was capped off with an unbelievable comeback against another outstanding QB. He’s living up to the lofty expectations the world set for him, and it’s unlikely he’ll stop now.

This OKBET piece will look into the Jaguars’ QB1 and how he grew as a high school phenom into one of the most exciting names in the NFL.

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Humble Yet Loud Beginnings in Georgia

Trevor Lawrence was born on October 6, 1999, in Knoxville, TN. It didn’t take long for him to fall in love with football while playing with his father. When Trevor was six years old, his family moved to Cartersville, GA. 

It was in this town where the future NFL quarterback would first make waves in the minds of football fans everywhere. Lawrence first lined up in the offensive line, but he began to play really well when he started lining up behind the offensive line.

The future NFL star immediately made waves when he became the starting quarterback as a freshman for Cartersville High School. He showcased his elite passing skill, finishing his first taste of varsity football with 26 passing TDs and seven interceptions.

Trevor Lawrence continued to play first-class football the rest of his high school career, bagging multiple scholarship offers from top football programs as a can’t-miss, blue-chip QB prospect.

He finished his high school career on a high. He bagged 41 passing TDs, committed only 1 INT, had a 69% completion rate, ran for 222 rushing yards, and completed two rushing TDs.

Trevor Lawrence’s Time at Clemson

Lawrence arrived at Death Valley as a five-star recruit and shared playing time with starting QB Kelly Bryant. However, it didn’t take long for coach Dabo Sweeney to demote the senior for the freshman with long blonde locks and a cannon for an arm.

The future NFL field general didn’t take long to repay the faith Sweeney showed for him. Trevor Lawrence completed 259 passes for 3280 yards in his debut ACC campaign. He also made 30 passing TDs and committed four picks.

He capped off his freshman campaign with a convincing performance over Nick Saban, Tua Tagovailoa, and the Alabama Crimson Tide. It was an overwhelming victory that presented the best Lawrence had to offer. He also became the first true freshman QB to start for a national champion since 1985.

If NFL teams weren’t already salivating for the chance to draft Lawrence as the first overall pick, his next two seasons as a Clemson Tiger solidified his claim at the top spot of the 2021 Draft. He finished his final two years as a college player with 6,818 passing yards, 60 passing TDs, 13 INTs, 171 rushing yards, 17 rushing TDs, and an average 167.95 passer rating.

While he couldn’t add to his lone national college championship, there was little doubt at that point that he would be a great signal caller at the pro level.

A Chaotic Rookie Season

People’s biggest question regarding the 2021 quarterback class was which shot caller would get drafted after Lawrence. While the class had a wealth of talent at the position, it was clear that the team who would get the first overall pick would immediately spend it on the Clemson product.

After they drafted Lawrence and hired Urban Meyer, things were looking bright for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Meyer was a neophyte in the pro game but had a fantastic college career up until that point.

While many thought the Jaguars would have growing pains by combining a rookie QB and head coach, nobody thought they would have the headaches they had in 2021.

The worst part is that it wasn’t even Lawrence’s fault.

Meyer was a horrible fit for the Jaguars, earning a terrible 2-11 record. He made many questionable football-related calls, including hiring a problematic strength coach and getting Tim Tebow to play some reps at tight end.

To make matters worse, his off-field controversies also distracted the team’s performance in the season. One of his biggest issues was the beleaguered coach getting caught dancing with a younger woman at his bar.

Negative rumors about Meyer’s management style also broke the news. Reports revealed how he cultivated a toxic culture in the locker room by calling his assistant coaches “losers.” He also kicked former kicker Josh Lambo during the Jags’ last preseason game.

It didn’t take long for the Jaguars to cut Meyer loose due to his antics. Team owner Shahid Khan fired him on December 2021.

Under such a chaotic head coach, it was a miracle Lawrence even completed more than 10 passing TDs. He finished his rookie season with a forgettable 3,641 passing yards, 12 TDs, 17 INTs, 59.6% pass completion rate, and a 71.9 QB rating.

Redemption Under Pederson

The Jaguars’ front office knew it would take a lot of work to right the ship Meyer shored. At the top of their priority list was getting the right head coach for the job.

Fortunately, they found the right man in Doug Pederson. The Super Bowl-winning coach knew how to build a winning culture in a franchise, as shown by the Eagles’ incredible Super Bowl run. He was the veteran leadership that the locker room badly needed after Meyer’s mess.

While Trevor Lawrence didn’t become an instant star overnight, he was the coach the young QB1 badly needed to transform the team’s fortunes for the better. They spent the season’s first half working through the terrible habits Lawrence developed in his rookie campaign.

The Pederson effect started showing its impact in the second half of the season. Lawrence began completing more quick passes and stopped relying on making hero ball plays to save the team. He finished the season with 4,113 passing yards, 25 passing TDs, 8 INTs, 

They managed to make the AFC Wild Card against the Los Angeles Chargers. Lawrence’s first playoff appearance didn’t get off to a hot start after throwing multiple picks that led to the Jaguars going down by as much as 27-7 after the first half.

However, Trevor’s competitive mentality and elite passing skills helped chip the lead down. He led an inspiring comeback to help the Jaguars win their first AFC playoff game since 2017.

His sophomore campaign ended at the hands of Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. While he started the game with a beautiful TD pass to Christian Kirk, the Chiefs’ poise and offensive firepower proved too much for Jacksonville.

What’s Next for Trevor Lawrence?

The future is bright for Lawrence after a convincing second season at the top of the AFC South. He assured everyone in JAX that he’s the real deal after getting outstanding guidance from a coach who knows what he’s doing.

The next step for Trevor Lawrence is to keep on improving his game. He must also work towards making the Jaguars the team to beat in the AFC South.

The team will do everything they can in the coming offseasons to provide Lawrence with the players he need to succeed. Should everything go smoothly, there’s no reason for his Jacksonville Jaguars to compete in a Super Bowl within the next couple of years.

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