Not too long ago, Trevor Lawerence vs. Justin Fields was the hottest debate in the recruiting industry.
One quarterback, Lawrence, represented the old-school passing ideal: Tall (6-foot-6), big-armed with exceptional ability within the pocket. The other, Fields, showcased new-school QB traits: Mobile and dynamic out of structure. Of course those labels, pro-style vs. dual-threat, are far from a holistic summary. Lawrence happens to be an above-average athlete and is perfectly capable of making accurate throws on the move. Fields showed plenty of ability to play within the pocket as a high school prospect.
As it was, Lawrence rated as the No. 1 overall prospect in the 2018 class with Fields at No. 2. Both QBs earned the highest grade ever given to a QB in the Top247 (101), creating an interesting link between the two as they entered college.
But after one-year the debate seemed to be over, at least that’s how the narrative went.
Lawrence put together the greatest season by a true freshman quarterback in history, leading Clemson to a national championship. Fields, meanwhile, sat in the background as Jake Fromm started every game for Georgia. When Fields transferred to Ohio State this offseason, some deemed this debate shut and closed.
Hot take incoming: Maybe the debate should be reopened.
Fields went on the road Saturday and led a 48-7 beating of Nebraska. Never mind that Fields’ second road start came in front of 90,000 rabid Husker fans. He silenced that group quickly. Fields finished the evening 15-for-21 with 212 yards passing and three touchdowns. He also ran for 72 yards and a score. It was a clinical effort by the sophomore. He had strikes from the pocket and open-field runs with his legs that made you double take – Fields, at 6-foot-3, 223 pounds, runs a 4.5-second 40-yard dash.
Fully unlocked in Ryan Day’s system, Fields looks like what the recruiting industry expected him to be: a star. Lawrence, who is struggling a bit early in the season (more on that below), is already a household name. Given that these quarterbacks lead two of the College Football Playoff favorites, this high school debate has transitioned to college in real time.
Lawrence has a sizeable lead in this figurative quarterback debate – a national championship will do that – but Fields is back in the conversation. That’s a great thing for college football. NFL teams are excited to see it, too. Lawrence vs. Fields has all the makings of Andrew Luck vs. Robert Griffin from 2012, except Fields will arrive far more adjusted as a passer thanks to his time under Day.
The great quarterback debate of 2018 is on again.