Trevor Lawrence vs. Justin Fields: A QB battle that keeps getting better, from 1-2 recruits to the NFL

Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State’s Justin Fields will lead their teams into the College Football at the Allstate Sugar Bowl on Friday in a rematch of last year’s national semifinal. 

The competition between the quarterbacks won’t stop there. Lawrence and Fields have been linked since their high school careers, and that trend should continue into the 2021 NFL Draft.  

It’s a seemingly never-ending competition between the two superstar quarterbacks, and it’s been interesting to watch those two career arcs cross.  

Sporting News examines the links between Lawrence and Fields ahead of the Sugar Bowl:  

No. 1 and No. 2 in high school

Lawrence and Fields were the top two quarterbacks in’s recruiting rankings for the class of 2018.  

Lawrence (Cartersville, Cartersville, Ga.) had a 0.999 rating, which was one-one thousandth better than Fields (Harrison, Kennesaw, Ga.), who had a 0.998. Lawrence committed to Clemson, and Fields chose Georgia.  

The quarterbacks squared off at The Opening in 2017, and Fields earned MVP honors at that camp.  

College careers  

Lawrence enjoyed a breakout season as a freshman with Clemson, one in which he took over as the starting quarterback for Kelly Bryant and led the Tigers to the College Football Playoff championship with a 44-16 victory against Alabama.  

Fields played sparingly as a freshman at Georgia before transferring to Ohio State. Since then, both quarterbacks have dominated at their respective schools in almost equal fashion.  

This statistic from Toledo Blade reporter Kyle Rowland shows just how close that is:  

Fields (19-1 as a starter) was a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2019. Lawrence (34-1) is a Heisman finalist this season. The two quarterbacks are 53-2 as starters at the FBS level, and one of those losses came in the last head-to-head matchup.  

2019 Fiesta Bowl  

Lawrence and Fields met in their only head-to-head matchup on Dec. 28, 2019 in the CFP semifinal at the Fiesta Bowl. Clemson won a 29-23 thriller.  

Fields led Ohio State to a 16-0 lead in the first half. He finished 30 of 46 for 320 passing yards, a TD and two interceptions. Fields added 13 yards rushing.  

Lawrence rallied the Tigers with a 67-yard TD run in the first half. He finished with 259 passing yards and two TDs, but it was the 107 rushing yards that made the difference.  

Lawrence led the game-winning TD drive with a 34-yard TD pass to Travis Etienne. Fields had a chance to match in the final minute, but he threw an interception in the end zone on the final drive.  

2020 Sugar Bowl  

The teams are in a No. 2 vs. No. 3 rematch at the Sugar Bowl.  

Clemson finished 10-1 and won the ACC championship game. Lawrence missed two starts after testing positive for COVID-19, but he finished with 2,753 passing yards, 22 TDs and four interceptions. He added 211 rushing yards and seven TDs.  

Fields led Ohio State to a 6-0 record and the Big Ten championship. The Buckeyes had three games canceled because of COVID-19 concerns. Fields finished with 1,521 passing yards, 15 TDs and five interceptions. He added 274 rushing yards and five TDs.  

The rematch will determine who makes the 2020-21 CFP championship game, but it won’t be the last time these two cross paths.  

NFL future  

SN’s Vinnie Iyer latest 2021 NFL Mock Draft puts Lawrence and Fields in the same-old positions.  

Lawrence is projected to go No. 1 to the Jacksonville Jaguars, and Fields is slotted to go No. 2 to the New York Jets.  

Lawrence appears to be a virtual lock to be the No. 1 pick, and Fields will have to hold off the other potential first-round quarterbacks in BYU’s Zach Wilson, Alabama’s Mac Jones, North Dakota State’s Trey Lance and Florida’s Kyle Trask. The 2021 NFL Scouting Combine should be interesting in that regard, but the two quarterbacks facing the most pressure will undoubtedly be the same two who have dominated since high school.  

Lawrence vs. Fields will continue to be a developing story throughout the 2020s and beyond. 

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