With the start of spring practice less than a month away, CUTigers takes a position-by-position look at the Tigers, starting with the quarterbacks.
Kyle Parker, Michael Wade - Parker was one of the top freshman signal callers in school history before suffering through a disappointing sophomore season in 2010.
After being selected of the first round of last year's MLB draft by the Colorado Rockies, he's elected to pursue a professional baseball career. In other words, his time at Clemson is over.
Michael Wade was a serviceable third-stringer who was Clemson's regular holder and a special teams performer the last several seasons.
THIS YEAR'S LINEUP
Tajh Boyd (RS Soph.) - In seven games last season, Boyd completed 33-of-63 passes for 329 yards to go along with four touchdowns and three interceptions. Boyd is a former five-star quarterback out of the Hampton, Va. area.
Tony McNeal (Fr.) - Enrolled at Clemson in January after graduating early from high school. As a senior, the three-star quarterback completed 157 of 282 passes for 2,125 yards with 21 touchdowns.
Cole Stoudt (Fr.) - Enrolled at Clemson in January after graduating early from high school. Stoudt threw for school record 4,393 yards and 52 touchdowns against just 11 interceptions in his career at Dublin Coffman. As a senior, he hit 163-of-250 passes for 2,159 yards and 22 touchdowns.
Also back: Donny McElveen (RS Soph.) and Taylor Ogle (RS Soph.)
BEHIND THE SCENES
The Tajh Boyd era officially kicks off on Mar. 4, the first day of spring practice. He's in line to take over as the starting quarterback for Parker, who threw for 4,739 yards and 32 touchdowns during his two-year run as Clemson's starting quarterback.
But there's plenty of uncertainty at the position. Boyd's never started game at the college level and the other four quarterbacks on the roster have combined to throw two passes at the college level. McNeal and Stoudt were playing high school ball only a few months ago, and one of those two is likely to backup Boyd.
The other will be projected to redshirt.
Keep in mind all quarterbacks will be starting from scratch this spring as new offensive coordinator Chad Morris brings in his spread offense, similar to that of Auburn's Gus Malzahn.
Morris' system isn't as complex nor as multiple as the system Napier ran for the last two years. Behind the scenes reports indicated that Boyd wasn't quick to pick up on all of the previous system's details, which included multiple formations, personnel groupings and multiple shifts/motions before the snap.
Morris will also expect his quarterbacks to use their mobility more than former offensive coordinator Billy Napier. While Boyd is anything but the second coming of Woodrow Dantzler, his mobility will be critical to Clemson's overall offensive success in 2011.
STORYLINES WORTH FOLLOWING
1. How Boyd adjusts to the new offense. Is he really suited to be a dual-threat quarterback?
2. The change in leadership now that Boyd is the man under center.
3. Just how dangerously close to rolling out a true freshman under center.
4. If one freshman is able to separate as a clear-cut backup.
5. Can either of the preferred walk-ons make any headway on the depth chart?
At the end of spring practice, Stoudt will go into the summer listed as the backup quarterback. With Tony McNeal still recovering from a knee injury, Stoudt, the son of former NFL quarterback Cliff Stoudt (Pittsburgh Steelers) could have the inside track.
While he's more of a drop back passer than scrambler, he has enough athleticism to work comfortably in Clemson's new offensive system.