Cartersville High product Trevor Lawrence plans to graduate from Clemson in December and he has also indicated the 2020 season will be his last for the Tigers. In a recent interview, the 6-6, 220-pound quarterback told ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi he is “planning on this being my last year.” The official decision will not be made until next January, but Lawrence is widely recognized as the overall No. 1 pick in the next NFL draft if he decides to turn pro. Lawrence was outstanding in his season opener as the top-ranked Tigers dominated Wake Forest, 37-13. He threw for 351 yards and one touchdown while connecting on 22-of-28 throws. He added a pair of short touchdown runs as well. Five other Division I college football players with local ties saw action this past weekend; Sam Howard’s impressive string of consecutive scoreless appearances was halted; and Baylee Evans competed with Troy’s cross country team that won a race in Mobile. PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL
Sam Howard (Pittsburgh Pirates, Cartersville HS) — Howard gave up a two-run, walk-off homer in a loss to the Cincinnati Reds Monday on the road. It ended a string of 10 consecutive appearances for Howard without allowing a run. The left-handed reliever had pitched a scoreless bottom of the sixth inning with Pittsburgh trailing 1-0 in the opener of a seven-inning doubleheader. After the Pirates rallied to tie the game in the top of the seventh, Howard came back out to pitch the bottom of the frame. He retired the first two batters before allowing a single and the walk-off home run. In Howard’s only other outing since Sept. 6, the Cartersville High graduate recorded one out against the Kansas City Royals in a loss Saturday. For the season, Howard holds a 2-2 record with a 3.06 ERA and 1.13 WHIP across 17 2/3 innings. He has struck out 22 batters during his 17 appearances.
Vic Beasley Jr. (Tennessee Titans, Adairsville HS) — Beasley missed Monday’s season opener for his new team at Denver with a knee ailment, according to the team’s injury report. The report stated that Beasley, who was a lifelong Atlanta Falcons defender until signing with the Titans this offseason, was a limited participant in workouts Thursday and Saturday but did not participate in Friday’s practice. His next chance to make his debut in Tennessee will come Sunday, when the Titans host the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Isaiah Chaney (Wake Forest R-Fr., Cartersville HS) — Chaney assisted on a tackle for loss in a 37-13 home defeat Saturday to Clemson. After opening the year against the top-ranked team in the country, Wake Forest will look to bounce back this Saturday at North Carolina State.
Jonathan Cruz (Charlotte Jr., Cartersville HS) — Charlotte began the 2020 season with a 35-20 road loss Saturday at Appalachian State. However, Cruz had a flawless debut. He converted both of his field-goal attempts, including a 49-yarder, and nailed both point-after tries. Cruz even sent all five of his kickoffs for touchbacks. Next up for Charlotte is a Saturday trip to Chapel Hill to face North Carolina.
Jordan Ferguson (Middle Tennessee State R-Jr., Cartersville HS) — A Cartersville High graduate, Ferguson missed all of last season with a knee injury. In his return, Ferguson managed six tackles (four solo) in a 42-0 road loss Sept. 5 at Army. MTSU will return to action Saturday, when Troy visits Murfreesboro.
JaCorey Johns (Wake Forest R-So., Cartersville HS) — Johns was in on a pair of tackles in the loss to Clemson.
Trevor Lawrence (Clemson Jr., Cartersville HS) — Lawrence announced prior to his team’s season-opening win over Wake Forest that this likely would be his final season at Clemson. The presumptive top pick in the 2021 NFL draft then went out and picked apart the Demon Deacons, completing 22 of 28 pass attempts for 351 yards and one touchdown. Lawrence also scored two short rushing touchdowns in the lopsided victory. The Tigers host The Citadel this Saturday.
Avery Showell (Georgia Tech R-Jr., Cartersville HS) — Showell wound up with three tackles, including two solo, and one pass breakup in a 16-13 road win Saturday over Florida State. Georgia Tech will face Central Florida Saturday in Atlanta.
Baylee Evans (Troy So., Woodland HS) — Evans placed 15th overall out of 55 runners Friday in the Azalea City Classic in Mobile, Alabama. Despite placing that high, Evans wasn’t even one of her team’s scorers, finishing seventh for the Trojans, who won the event. The Trojans run again September 26 when they host the Doc Anderson Invitational. --- Nicholas Sullivan, The Daily Tribune News