Clemson coaches and fans feared quarterback Trevor Lawrence suffered a concussion against Syracuse on Saturday, but it more likely was a neck strain, according to co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott.
He could return to practice as soon as Monday, Scott said.
Lawrence was running with the ball late in the second quarter when he was hit near his head by Orange junior safety Evan Foster. He left the game and was put into concussion protocol, but coach Dabo Swinney said Lawrence was active on the sideline.
Last week, Swinney promoted the freshman to starter. As a result, incumbent Kelly Bryant, a graduate student, decided to take his redshirt season and transfer.
“The medical staff sees a lot of positive signs and everything is tracking the right way,” Scott said of Lawrence. “There’s a chance he’ll be able to practice (Monday). They’re going to let him lift and go through their protocol they have. But they’ve been very optimistic, and they’re kind of finding out it’s more of a neck strain, with the way he got hit, so that’s good news. But no final decision has been made on that.”
Redshirt freshman Chase Brice took over for Lawrence and led the No. 4 Tigers to a 27-23 comeback win.
As Lawrence recovers, Brice likely will take first-team reps, with freshman Ben Batson and receiver Hunter Renfrow — the emergency quarterback — working with the second team, Scott said.
“We’re actually preparing four quarterbacks to play. We were getting Chase ready last week, getting him more reps. … Now it’s about getting Batson and Renfrow in a position where they can at least manage the game and do some things offensively.”
Lawrence has completed 49 of 75 passes for 693 yards and nine touchdowns against two interceptions.