For Trevor Lawrence, opting out of the 2020 college football season wasn't really an option.
Sure, the Clemson star quarterback and one of the faces of the sport knew that there could be a time because of health and safety reasons forced a different decision, but that time hasn't come.
So while some of the brightest stars in the country decided this week to sit out and get ready for the NFL, Lawrence, the likeliest first selection of the 2021 NFL Draft, is practicing with the Tigers and preparing for the season.
"I think everyone's thought about (opting out) just with everything going on, but since I made the decision to play I haven't thought about it again," Lawrence said Friday after Clemson's second fall camp practice. "That's my decision. I want to play my last year here if that's what I decide to do. It's my third year. I even have another one. I think we're forgetting I got four years so I'm just ready to have a great year and be a part of this team. We're super pumped."
Just this week, Penn State lost star linebacker Micah Parsons. Miami defensive lineman Greg Rousseau opted out while head coach Manny Diaz was wrapping up a press conference. Receiver Rondale Moore, one of the most electric playmakers in the game, decided he wasn't suiting up for Purdue. Minnesota's Rashod Bateman, the reigning Big Ten receiver of the year, wants to get ready for the NFL draft.
"I totally get it," Lawrence said when asked about other stars opting out. "There's a lot on the line for them and if they feel the risk is too much, I understand. It's something they've worked for their whole life to get a chance to play in the NFL and they don't want to risk it. I think everyone has different reasons, but it makes sense in this situation so I respect it. You know, each decision is different."
Lawrence and teammate Travis Etienne, one of the top running backs in the country, talked about returning for one last run at a national title instead of the other option. Lawrence didn't want to speak for Etienne, who gave up a shot at the NFL for his fourth season at Clemson, but the two are "committed" together.
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"I'm just really just proud to be on the team with a guy that's committed and that wants to play football and that's what we talked about," Lawrence said about his discussions with Etienne. "He loves the game. So that's why he's playing. It's not about the money, necessarily. It's good to hear."
Being decisive is one of the many things Lawrence does well on the field. He threw for 3,665 yards and 36 touchdowns in 15 games last year as a sophomore. He's not been indecisive off the field, either. He heard people saying last summer that he should sit out 2019 and not risk injury because he's a top-selection draft lock in 2021. Then he heard people say he needed to work on things after a criticized start to last season.
But Lawrence continues to do things his way, and he consulted his family about playing this season, and until he feels it isn't safe, he's putting on the paw for at least another campaign.
"It never got to the point where I was like, 'Ok, I don't think I'm going to play.' It was always like, 'I'm gonna play until something happens, the point where I don't feel like it's safe.' That never happened so I've been pretty much committed to playing the whole time. I don't think I've ever really gone back and forth," Lawrence said.
Could things change? Of course. This is 2020. Expect the unexpected. Even though the Tigers are scheduled to start the season Sept. 12 at Wake Forest, there's still plenty of concern across the country that the pandemic will ground all football this fall.
If the season were moved to the spring, it would force Lawrence to make a completely different decision, with the NFL draft looming.
"We'll cross that bridge when we come to it," Lawrence said. "I'm confident we've got a good plan and we'll be ready to work."