Show­down of QBS: It’s Lawrence, Tago­v­ailoa in ti­tle bid

The State (Sunday) - - Sports - BY BEN BREINER [email protected]­tate.com

They’ll face off for a na­tional championship on Mon­day night. Here’s a closer look at Alabama’s Tua Tago­v­ailoa and Clem­son’s Trevor Lawrence.

TUA TAGO­V­AILOA

Height: 6-foot-1

Weight: 218 pounds 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 touch-

downs 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 play­mak­ing abil­ity and skill mov­ing to get the right throw should make him a cov­eted prospect.

TREVOR LAWRENCE

Height: 6-foot-5 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 skill set 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 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 (Ga.) High. 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.

Trevor Lawrence

Tua Tago­v­ailoa

WILFREDO LEE AP

Alabama quar­ter­back Tua Tago­v­ailoa, at 6-foot-1, isn’t the big­gest, but that doesn’t stop him from throw­ing darts.

MICHAEL AINSWORTH AP

Clem­son’s Trevor Lawrence has the skill set most any­one would want in a col­lege, or even pro, quar­ter­back.

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