KINGSTON, R.I. – Rhode Island quarterback JaJuan Lawson will participate in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. Saturday evening. The game will be played at the historic Rose Bowl.
Lawson – who led the Rams to their first winning season in 17 years this season – is one of three quarterbacks on the American Team roster, joining Baylor's Jalan McClendon and Vanderbilt's Kyle Shurmur. Lawson and Maine's Sterling Sheffield are the lone representatives of CAA Football playing in the game.
Coaching the American Team this week is Chicago Bears Defensive Coordinator Chuck Pagano. Pagano was the head coach for the Indianapolis Colts from 2012-17, and has coached in the NFL for more than 16 years. Lawson's quarterback coach for the week is Jeff Blake, who played 14 seasons in the NFL, making the Pro Bowl in 1995.
Despite missing 4.5 games due to injury, Lawson was the sparkplug for Rhode Island's first winning season in 17 years. A two-time CAA Football Offensive Player of the Week, he ranked 40th in the country and third in the conference in points responsible for (132). On average, he produced 18.9 points per game, which was higher the CAA Football Offensive Player of the Year Tom Flacco, who averaged 17.5 per game. Lawson's average per game would have ranked eighth in the country if he played enough games to qualify.
Lawson set URI's single-season completion record (66.7 percent) and was responsible for 22 touchdowns (17 passing, five rushing). He became only the second quarterback in program history with at least 17 touchdown passes in one season. The legendary Tom Ehrhardt did so twice. Lawson led the league in passing efficiency (165.53), was second in touchdown passes (17), fifth in passing yards (1,711), second in passing yards per game (244.4) and second in total offense per game (269.0).
The NFLPA Collegiate Bowl will air live on FS1 at 5 p.m. EST. Dan Hellie will handle play-by-play with analysts Joel Klatt and Charles Davis joining him in the booth.