Athletes Beyond Bartow: Lawrence continues to build case for Heisman
-- contributed by Nicholas Sullivan, The Daily Tribune News
Trevor Lawrence needs no validation at this point in his collegiate career. The junior quarterback accomplished more than most players could dream to achieve over his first two seasons at Clemson.
And yet, the former Cartersville High star looks set to make a run at something that has thus far eluded him — the Heisman Trophy. One of the most famous awards in all of sports, the Heisman has long been considered the highest individual honor for a college football player.
Lawrence certainly wouldn’t trade any of his team success for an individual honor, but this year, it’s quite possible that both could be attained.
Clemson sits atop the AP poll — ahead of Alabama and Georgia, which face off in two weeks — and looks set to make another run at a College Football Playoff appearance. While Lawrence could wind up taking home several awards, including the Heisman, by the time the season ends.
He made his latest case with a solid showing against one of the better teams in the ACC, finishing 25-for-38 passing for 329 yards and three touchdowns versus Virginia.
Elsewhere, JaCorey Johns posted great numbers for Wake Forest in its first win over the season. Meanwhile, Vic Beasley Jr.’s second outing with Tennessee got delayed due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the organization.
Vic Beasley Jr. (Tennessee Titans, Adairsville) — The Titans were forced into taking their bye week early after a COVID-19 outbreak — which affected several players and other team personnel — pushed back their scheduled meeting with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Tennessee could return to the field against Buffalo Sunday at home.
Isaiah Chaney (Wake Forest R-Fr., Cartersville) — Chaney contributed one solo tackle and one assist in a 66-14 blowout win over Campbell in Wake’s only non-conference game of the season. The Demon Deacons (1-2) will now have an open date before hosting Virginia (Oct. 17) and Virginia Tech (Oct. 24) in successive weeks.
Jonathan Cruz (Charlotte Jr., Cartersville) — Cruz drilled both of his extra-point attempts, but he finished just 1-for-3 on field-goal tries. The misses proved costly, as Charlotte fell 21-17 Saturday at Florida Atlantic. The 49ers (0-2, 0-1 Conference USA) will attempt to bounce back this weekend, when they travel to North Texas.
Jordan Ferguson (Middle Tennessee State R-Jr., Cartersville) — Ferguson recorded 1 1/2 sacks and finished with three total tackles, but MTSU came up short again, falling 20-17 Saturday to Western Kentucky. The Blue Raiders will look to break a four-game losing streak to begin the season, with a trip to Florida International this weekend.
Miller Forristall (Alabama R-Sr., Cartersville) — After hauling in one catch for 34 yards in the season opener at Missouri, Forristall hauled in a pair of receptions for 23 yards in a 52-24 victory over Texas A&M. The second-ranked team in the country, Alabama will travel to Ole Miss this week ahead of an Oct. 17 showdown with No. 3 Georgia.
JaCorey Johns (Wake Forest R-So., Cartersville) — Johns had a monster game in the rout of Campbell. He paced the Demon Deacons defense with seven tackles (five solo), three tackles for loss and one sack — all of which either led the team or was tied for the team lead.
Trevor Lawrence (Clemson Jr., Cartersville) — The presumptive top pick in the 2021 NFL draft, Lawrence continues to put together a strong Heisman campaign in the early stages of the season. His latest contribution came in the form of another three-touchdown effort against an ACC foe. Things didn’t come quite as easily versus Virginia, which fell to Clemson in last year’s conference championship game, as they did against Wake Forest and Citadel, but Lawrence still put up stellar numbers. The 6-foot-6, 220-pounder passed for 329 yards and rushed for 36. All three of his touchdowns came through the air, as Lawrence completed 25 of 38 passes. Top-ranked Clemson will have a marquee matchup this week, when it hosts No. 7 Miami.