CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Clemson coach Dabo Swinney took some heat for bringing an offensive guard to the annual ACC Kickoff event rather than his star quarterback, Trevor Lawrence, so on Wednesday, he offered an olive branch: the Trevor Lawrence stunt double.
Guard John Simpson — all 325 pounds of him — arrived in a suit, tie and blonde wig, mimicking Lawrence’s trademark locks.
“I tried to give my best Trevor Lawrence impression,” Simpson said. “But he doesn’t really say or do much, so it’s not easy.”
Swinney came up with the idea after he received blowback for failing to bringing his biggest stars to the preseason promotional event, but he waited until the group was en route to Charlotte before he informed Simpson of the prank, telling Simpson it was a great idea.
“I was like, ‘Are you sure, Coach?'” Simpson said. “But it wasn’t really up for debate.”
So Simpson sauntered into his first radio interview of the day with the flowing locks, swiping back hair like a shampoo commercial model. Photos and video were shared on Clemson’s social media platforms and the response was immediate.
“I was all over social media, which was cool,” Simpson said.
Swinney said he has a firm rule that only players about to graduate attend ACC Kickoff, which prevented bigger stars like Lawrence, Travis Etienne, Tee Higgins or Justyn Ross from representing the Tigers.
Simpson said he understood the response from disappointed fans and media, though.
“I’m an offensive lineman,” he said. “People aren’t supposed to know my name.”