In the span of less than a year, Trevor Lawrence experienced a career’s worth of narratives. He began his year as the the top-rated quarterback in Top247 history. Twelve months later, he's the subject of thinkpieces: Should the golden-armed quarterback sit out the next two seasons to protect his NFL value? In between it all, of course, Lawrence had to usurp Kelly Bryant and dethrone Alabama.
But exactly how good was Lawrence? During the college football doldrums of June, 247Sports will attempt to answer that question with some historical context. We’ll start with Lawrence and hit on several other college stars in a random fashion over the next few weeks.
It's fairly obvious to begin with Lawrence. He's a fascinating case of unprecedented results; there is no historical comparison for what Lawrence accomplished as a freshman.
Not only did Lawrence become only the second true freshman QB to lead his team to a national championship as a starter (this stat includes Oklahoma's Jamelle Holieway, not Tua Tagovailoa, who came off the bench for the Tide). Lawrence blew defenses away with both his deep ball acumen and efficiency: 3,280 yards, 30 TDs, 4 INTs, 65.2 CMP%, 8.3 YPA.
Using Sports Reference data, which circles back to 2000, 247Sports looked for any true freshman season that even slightly resembled Lawrence's. There aren’t any. For those wondering, pre-2000 stat lines wouldn’t encompass the same sort of passing numbers Lawrence and modern offenses produce.
Lawrence is the first true freshman in the FBS during that period to throw for 3,000-plus yards with 30-plus touchdowns and fewer than five interceptions. Expand the scope to 10 interceptions, and you still wouldn’t find any true freshmen. There are a few redshirt freshmen among that group (Sam Darnold, Sam Bradford, Jameis Winston, Brent Stockstill). Three of them went within the first three picks in the NFL Draft, and two of them won a Heisman Trophy.