Lawrence will miss Saturday’s game against Boston College, the school said Thursday night.
“Trevor has authorized us this evening to announce that he has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said in a statement. “He is doing well with mild symptoms but will not be available for this week’s game against Boston College. While we certainly will miss Trevor, this is an opportunity for other guys to step up and we’re excited about competing against a very good BC team on Saturday.”
ACC rules mean that Lawrence could also miss No. 1 Clemson’s huge matchup at No. 4 Notre Dame on Nov. 7. According to ACC’s COVID-19 protocol, “a student-athlete who tests positive for COVID-19 shall be isolated for at least 10 days from the onset of symptoms/positive test and at least 1 day has passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement of respiratory symptoms.”
Lawrence reportedly tested positive Wednesday, a test date that puts him right on the edge of that ACC window. If Nov. 7 is within the window — even if Lawrence was symptom-free and feeling well enough to play — he would miss the game.
Shortly after Swinney’s statement, Lawrence released a statement of his own.
“I have tested positive for COVID-19 and my symptoms have been relatively mild while I’m following the protocol from Clemson and the ACC,” Lawrence wrote. “The only thing that hurts is missing an opportunity to be with my teammates this weekend and play the game I love. I hate that I can’t be there, but I’ll be watching from isolation and pulling for our guys while I wait for the opportunity to rejoin the team. God bless and Go Tigers!”
Lawrence is considered the presumptive No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft if and when he declares after the 2020 season. The junior is 135-of-191 passing for 1,833 yards and 17 touchdowns and just two interceptions. He’s completing over 70 percent of his passes.
Lawrence is the first publicly known star college football player to miss time because of the coronavirus. Highly touted freshman D.J. Uiagalelei will likely start in his place against the Eagles. Uiagalelei is 12-of-19 passing for 102 yards and also has eight carries for 32 yards and two scores in limited playing time behind Lawrence this year.
Uiagalelei is considered the heir apparent to Lawrence at QB for the Tigers. The five-star recruit was the top pro-style QB in the class of 2020 and the No. 3 player in the country according to Rivals.
Could Lawrence’s absence impact College Football Playoff?
If Lawrence is unable to play against Notre Dame and the Tigers lose the game, how should the College Football Playoff committee view the game?
Clemson will likely get a large benefit of the doubt, especially if the game is close. Lawrence is the best quarterback in the country. Even a team as good as Clemson experiences a significant drop in quality without a top-tier QB like Lawrence.
And Clemson could likely get another shot against Notre Dame with Lawrence in the lineup anyway. The Irish are full ACC members because of the coronavirus pandemic and are eligible for the conference title game. A Clemson-Notre Dame rematch in the conference title game has long been expected.
If Clemson makes it to the title game with a 10-1 record and wins the conference title, then the Tigers will be in the playoff. It’s as simple as that. It gets complicated for the committee if that win is over a previously undefeated Notre Dame.
But the Dec. 19 ACC title game is still nearly two months away. And as we’ve seen numerous times in this pandemic-impacted college football season, things can change a lot in a hurry.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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