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Jaguars’ Trevor Lawrence era is officially here

This is the day everyone in Cartersville, Ga., knew beyond a shadow of doubt would arrive for Trevor Lawrence, the day their manifest-destiny darling would begin his journey for some lucky city and franchise as the NFL’s next generational quarterback.

To the loser goes the spoils in the NFL: You can tank one season for Trevor and wind up giving thanks for Trevor in Jacksonville.

The Trevor Lawrence Era begins for the Jaguars on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Houston with the type of hype reserved for saviors, a hype the Colts will recognize quicker than most — following the Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck eras.

Urban Meyer returned to the sidelines to coach Lawrence, and though no one will dare predict how long the marriage of celebrity coach and marquee quarterback will last, the prospect of Trevor Forever is enough by itself to light a transformative fire in a fan base that has never celebrated a Super Bowl appearance since expansion birthed the franchise in 1995.

This kid is too good to be true.

“You know me, I’m enamored with quarterback development, I love coaching the position,” Jaguars passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach Brian Schottenheimer told The Post. “I don’t think there’s a harder job in professional sports than playing quarterback in the National Football League. I absolutely, No. 1, love it.

“And then when you add not even the talent, but just the type of young man that Trevor is. Here’s a guy that’s done so much, was a five-star recruit by the time he was a ninth-grader in high school … when he wins the national championship as a freshman people are telling him to sit out and not even play his last two years and just get ready for the draft.

Jaguars
Trevor Lawrence
AP

“A guy that has done so much but yet is so coachable, and just wants to be developed, and literally hangs on almost every word you say and the different fundamentals and the techniques. That’s what’s enjoyable about the profession of coaching, when you get a guy that’s got unbelievable talent and ability, but yet he’s as humble and as hungry as a young player as probably I’ve ever been around. It makes for a great relationship, it makes for a great environment to be around. So I’m absolutely having a ball.”

Who wouldn’t want to coach Trevor Lawrence?

“He can certainly make all the throws,” Schottenheimer said. “He’s got very, very good accuracy. There’s not a throw that he can’t make down the field. What they don’t talk about enough, in my opinion, is his athleticism. For a 6-foot-6, 225-pound kid, he’s really, really athletic, and I think that’s something that people will notice as we get into some of these games and he’s forced to be moved off the spot, things like that.”

Giants receiver Collin Johnson was a 2020 fifth-round draft pick out of Texas who was released last month by the Jags. A 6-6, 220-pound target, Johnson had 18 receptions for 272 yards and two touchdowns as a rookie.

“Trevor Lawrence, he’s just a beast,” Johnson told The Post. “He’s everything as advertised.”

Trevor Lawrence
Trevor Lawrence will make his regular season debut for the Jaguars on Sunday.
AP

Receivers D.J. Chark Jr., Marvin Jones Jr. and Laviska Shenault Jr. should expect a beautiful ball from Lawrence.

“Really one of the tightest spirals I’ve ever caught,” Johnson said. “Really nice ball, catchable for the receiver. Some quarterbacks, they put a lot on the ball, some quarterbacks don’t put enough. I feel like Trevor has a happy medium. So I know the receivers over there in camp, working with those guys, I know they love the type of football Trevor throws.”

All the other young guns from the 2021 Quarterback Class — Zach Wilson, Trey Lance, Justin Fields and Mac Jones — will have different leadership styles. It won’t be hard for his teammates to follow Trevor Lawrence.

“He’s really got a great feel for leading,” Schottenheimer said. “He’s great in the huddle, the huddle command is awesome. A lot of, I would say 1-on-1, he’s a really good communicator. Something will come up in practice, and he’ll walk over to the center or the guard and talk about what he saw or go grab a receiver or tight end and pull him over and be like, ‘Hey that was my bad. What’d you think on your angle?’ Or ‘Hey, I kind of thought you might do this.’ So I would say his style is very natural as a leader. He doesn’t force it. He doesn’t yell or scream. He can communicate to all levels.”

Johnson: “He’s very calm, cool and collected, but he speaks up when he needs to. But very poised and confident, especially being a rookie.”

Schottenheimer was the Colts’ quarterbacks coach in 2016 when Luck was in his fifth year.

“I had [Drew] Brees in Year 2. I had [Sam] Bradford in Year 2. I had Philip [Rivers] as a rookie,” Schottenheimer said. “The thing that reminds me about Philip and Trevor is how fast they process information. And there’s no secret to the sauce, if you will — why is that the case? Well, Philip Rivers at the time, I think he had the most starts of any college quarterback in history. He had 51 consecutive starts when we [Chargers] [traded with the Giants to get him on draft day] out of North Carolina State, and Trevor, of course, started four years in high school and [36] in college. There’s no way to train the position of quarterback without experience. From the day Trevor got here, just his ability to process information from the time the ball is snapped to when you have to release it in 1.8 to 2.2 seconds, it’s very uncanny. The other guy that was able to do that was Philip, at a young age.”

Lawrence was 52-2 at Cartersville High School (little boys and girls wear the hometown hero’s No. 16) and he was 34-2 at Clemson. Success hasn’t spoiled him, though no one should expect immediate success during his rookie season — which wouldn’t spoil him anyway.

“He’s dealing with all the expectations there great,” Johnson said. “I feel like he understands the pressure, but he just chooses to focus on what matters, and that’s just the guys in that locker room over there, and just showing up to practice every day.”

Jaguars
Trevor Lawrence gets sacked during the preseason.
Getty Images

Lawrence is impossible not to recognize, with his flowing blond locks, but no one has seen his head swell or his nerves fray from the ever present, relentless adulation that has followed him since before his teenage years. He’s easygoing and even-keeled in an Eli Manning kind of way and comfortable in his own skin. He married his middle-school sweetheart in April and will turn 22 on Oct. 6.

Schottenheimer was asked why he believes Lawrence is so good at blocking out all the noise and being true to himself.

“I think No. 1 would be his upbringing,” Schottenheimer said. “I think his parents raised him the right way. I think he’s got a very level head on his shoulder. He’s grounded in his faith, he’s grounded in his marriage to Marissa and his family. … I think one of the coolest big brothers I’ve ever been around when you watch him with his sister [Olivia].

“He doesn’t take himself too seriously. He likes to laugh, he likes to joke. His preparation is top of the charts from the meetings where he’s taking notes and typing in notes and handwritten notes on the game plan books.

“It’s a sport that is highly scrutinized at the position and levels he’s been at, but at the same time, if you have that self-confidence, which he does, believe me, he’s very competitive, he’s very self-confident. Nothing really bothers him.”

Trevor Lawrence was born for this moment.

“Obviously his mother and I are very excited, very proud of him,” his father, Jeremy, told The Post, “and looking forward to the season and support him.”

It’s easy to be proud of the quarterback he has become, easy to be proud of the man he has become.

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