Originally posted on Crystal Ball Run  |  Last updated 3/18/14
We’ve taken a look at some of the different position battles around college football so far as we head into spring camp. We’ve talked about running back at Auburn, quarterback at Alabama and quarterback at A&M. Now let’s venture outside of the SEC and look at who will take over under center (or in the shotgun) at Clemson… Background Since Offensive Coordinator Chad Morris has come to Clemson, he’s had Tajh Boyd at QB. During that time, Boyd has put up some impressive statistics and has kept the Tigers offense running smoothly. Dabo Swinney and the Tigers have won double-digit games every year for the last three years and have gone 11-2 in two straight seasons. Replacing Boyd will be critical to the Tigers if they want to maintain this level of success. Who’s Leaving? Tajh Boyd. Boyd threw for over 3,800 yards in each of the last three seasons. He threw 33 TDs in 2011, 36 in 2012 and 34 in 2013. He had his issues against in-state rival South Carolina but he was one of the best QBs in college football over the past three years. Who’s filling the void? Cole Stoudt, Senior (2013 stats): 46-of-58 passing for 413 yards with 5 TD and 0 INT Chad Kelly, Red-shift Sophomore (2013 stats): 10-of-17 passing for 58 yards Deshaun Watson, True Freshman (Early Enrollee) What’s happening this spring? An all out battle for QB1. Stoudt will get the first look as he’s been in the program for the longest time and brings Senior leadership to the table. Stout showed his accuracy last season completing 79% of his passes including 19 of 20 against SC State and 10 of 11 against Wake Forest. But, he hasn’t been tested when it counts. Kelly looks like more of a gunslinger but in his two years on campus he hasn’t been able to supplant Stoudt as the second string QB. Will this be the year that he takes that step or will he once again sit in the shadows and wait his turn. The long shot to win the job is true freshman Deshaun Watson. Watson is on campus now and competing in practice so that gives him an edge over a traditional freshman. That being said, with Georgia first up for Clemson it would be almost unthinkable that Dabo would throw a freshman out on day one as Clemson’s starter, especially with the seasoned back-ups that the Tigers have in place. What to expect heading into the summer and fall? With the Georgia game right out of the gate, I expect Clemson to name their starting QB at the end of spring practice. That will give that player all summer to take the leadership role with the team as well as getting all first team reps when fall practice begins. I would be surprised if Stoudt doesn’t get first crack at the Dawgs when Clemson heads to Athens.
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