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Trevor Lawrence to the NFL in 2021? It's not a done deal, Clemson star QB says.
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Trevor Lawrence to the NFL in 2021? It's not a done deal, Clemson star QB says.

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Column: Lawrence just wanted to play, now he must watch

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) makes a pass during an NCAA college football game against Syracuse in Clemson, S.C., on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020.

The plan all along has been for Trevor Lawrence to play three years at Clemson before leaving for the NFL, but is it a guarantee that this will be his final year with the Tigers?

There has been speculation in recent weeks that Lawrence should not play for the Jets if New York ends up with the No. 1 overall pick for the 2021 NFL draft.

A story from Sports Illustrated suggested that Lawrence should "pull an Eli Manning" and "steer himself away from the Jets." Manning told the Chargers in 2004 that he did not want to play for them, leading to a blockbuster trade that ended with Philip Rivers in San Diego and Manning with the New York Giants.

Former Falcons star Roddy White, speaking in a recent interview, went as far as to say that Lawrence should "just go back to Clemson" if the Jets have the top pick.

"If the Jets get the first pick, don't go. Just stay. Just stay one more year in college and enjoy your time ... because it would be awful to get drafted by the Jets," White said.

Lawrence, a junior, was asked Tuesday if there was anything that might make him reconsider returning to school. He didn't close the door on playing one more season at Clemson.

"I don't know. I mean, we'll just have to see how things unfold. I think there's a lot of factors in that," Lawrence told reporters. "Honestly (I'm) just playing this year, putting everything I have into it. Not really focusing on next year, whether I leave or stay or whatever. Obviously I have the option to do either one."

Lawrence has completed 71% of his passes this season for the undefeated and top-ranked Tigers. The Georgia native has thrown for 1,833 yards, with 17 touchdowns and two interceptions.

Clemson will host Boston College this weekend, before traveling to No. 4 Notre Dame next week.

"Kind of my mindset has been that I'm gonna move on, but who knows? There's a lot of things that could happen," Lawrence said. "So just really focused on this year and not trying to look ahead. Not trying to worry about that.

"Obviously I can't control it and really just trusting that God has a plan for me, no matter where that is. No matter where I go, whether it's across the country, whether it's close to home, whether I stay another year. No matter what it is, we'll work it out. So I'm not sure. That's a tough one. But we'll see how it all unfolds."

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney acknowledged shortly after Lawrence arrived at Clemson that if everything went as planned, the former No. 1 overall recruit would be at Clemson three years before turning pro.

Lawrence is the Heisman favorite and has been described by ESPN's Todd McShay as the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck.

If Lawrence does turn pro after this season, freshman QB D.J. Uiagalelei is expected to take over starting next year. The California native is a former five-star recruit.

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