They’ll face off for a national championship on Monday. A closer look at Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa vs Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence.
Weight: 218 pounds
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The News & Observer
Stats: 223-of-321 passing, 3,671 yards, 41 touchdowns, four interceptions, 205.2 rating; 199 rushing yards, five touchdowns.
Scouting report: The first thing that pops out with Tagovailoa is his accuracy. He’s got kind of a jitterbug quality with a windup that looks a little labored, and yet the ball comes out very on-target. He can hit tight windows and manage an offense stocked with next-level talent. There’s just a smoothness to the way he works, even as he’s running around or spinning out of trouble. He’s not the biggest, but it doesn’t stop him from being able to throw darts. Early in the season he was a bit of a runner, though not a primary one. A mild knee injury limited that, and he had a high ankle sprain in the SEC title game. Granted, if there’s a big play to be made with a title on the line, he could try to make a few plays with his legs.
Recruiting profile: Tagovailoa was the No. 32 player in the 2017 class, a five-star prospect and two spots behind Clemson signee Hunter Johnson. He was the top dual-threat quarterback in the rankings after posting 3,932 yards and 43 touchdowns as a senior at Saint Louis School in Honolulu, Hawaii. He chose the Tide over Southern Cal, UCLA, Texas A&M and Hawaii.
NFL potential: USA Today’s draft wire lists him as a potential first-round pick in 2020. His size could hurt a little, but his play-making ability and skill moving to get the right throw should make him a coveted prospect.
Weight: 215 pounds
Stats: 239-of-365 passing, 2.933 yards, 27 touchdowns, four interceptions, 155.2 rating; 150 rushing yards, one touchdown.
Scouting report: Lawrence has the skillset most anyone would want in a college, or even pro, quarterback. He throws a pretty ball with a lot of accuracy. Although Clemson’s offense has a heavy emphasis on screens, which he throws well, he doesn’t have much fear going downfield. He’ll regularly find holes in zones, put balls in tight windows or just throw it up for guys. Against South Carolina he dropped in a ball with basically no window and placed it perfectly for a big gain. It helps to have receivers Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross, who can beat most folks one-on-one. Lawrence is also a willing runner and can get worked into the zone read game. He doesn’t seem to mind spinning away from the pass rush and making plays on the move, and his long legs allow him to pull away as a runner when he gets out in space.
Recruiting profile: He was the No. 1 overall prospect in the 2018 class and a five-star out of Cartersville High in Cartersville, Georgia. This season he has shown himself well worth that designation. He surpassed an established, solid starter, and the worst one could say was there was a little inconsistency down the stretch. He picked the Tigers over Georgia.
NFL potential: There’s been some reporting he’d be the first player taken in the draft if he came out right now. Considering NFL scouts’ infatuation with big, strong-armed quarterbacks heavy on potential, that seems like a good bet.