Clemson commits, including "crazy good" Trevor Lawrence, on display at Army game


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Trevor Lawrence and Xavier Thomas play for the East squad
Trevor Lawrence and Xavier Thomas play for the East squad

Several Clemson commits will play the final high school game of their careers Saturday, and one special quarterback will be the centerpiece.

Eight members of Clemson’s 2018 recruiting class are competing in the U.S. Army All-American game in San Antonio, Texas (1 p.m., NBC). All of the players are on the East squad, led by quarterback Trevor Lawrence of Cartersville (Ga.).

Lawrence will wear his usual No. 16 jersey, while wide receiver Derion Kendrick will don No. 1, left tackle Jackson Carman will wear No. 74, kicker B.T. Potter will wear No. 25, defensive end Xavier Thomas will wear No. 19, defensive end Justin Mascoll will wear No. 17, defensive tackle Josh Belk will wear No. 90, and defensive back Kyler McMichael will wear No. 42.

The East squad also boasts three Clemson targets, and the coaching staff hopes to get all three on campus for a visit sometime this month. They include cornerback Patrick Surtain (No. 2), cornerback Tyson Cambell (No. 8) and linebacker Dax Hollifield (No. 44). The West team includes another Clemson target in safety Leon O’Neal (No. 9). Cornerback Brendan Radley-Hiles is another Clemson target playing for the West (No. 44), and he is expected to announce his decision during the game.

Potter said it’s been a fun week of practice in San Antonio, especially getting to know the other Clemson commits.

“It’s been really fun. We’ve had a lot of fun this week,” Potter said. “We have all hung out and done some interviews together. It’s good to get to know them away from Clemson and see what they are really like. I like getting to see what everybody does against each other.”

What players have stood out?

“I’d say watching Xavier Thomas has been the most fun,” Potter said. “That was crazy. And Josh Belk has been really good. We are good friends, and I didn’t know how good he was, and I don’t think he knew how good he was until he got out here against other good players. Derion Kendrick has been great, and it’s been good to watch him play something other than quarterback. And Trevor Lawrence – I am pretty sure he is starting for us. He is crazy good.”

Lawrence has been the talk of practices this week, and he told USA Today that he has enjoyed playing against the best players in the country.

“It’s been a really good experience so far. Right from when we arrived, they laid out the red carpet for us and treated us really well. We get great gear, and everything is planned out,” Lawrence said. “On top of that, it’s really cool to put myself up against the best players in the country and compete with them. At practice, it’s amazing how fast the defense is, especially the defensive fronts. Our offense is really coming along. We’re just trying to learn and get everybody on the same page. We had a really good practice today.”

Lawrence said the competition has been fierce.

“The first thing I thought on the field this week was how much different this was. All these guys you see in every scouting service, they’re trying to chase me on defense or defend the guy I’m throwing to. It’s been good competing with these guys,” he said. “As for the game, I’m just hoping to get better as a player and to get to know these guys even better. I want to build these relationships even more, and hopefully perform well, too.”

Lawrence will enroll at Clemson next week, and he’s excited about the opportunity to join the quarterback competition.

“My roommate and I watched the College Football Playoff semifinal games. The Clemson game (a 24-6 Sugar Bowl loss to Alabama) was tough,” Lawrence said. “I think a lot of people didn’t even think they’d get that far this year. I wanted them to win like so many, but you’ve got to give credit to Alabama. I’m really excited to get to Clemson. It’s coming up Sunday that I go there. I think I can help the team out, and I’m excited to get to work.”


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