Patiently waiting his turn

CLEMSON - Cole Stoudt arrived to the Clemson campus when there was still a bit of uncertainty at the quarterback position.

There was no doubt as to whom the starter was. But, at the time, there was the unknown of how Tajh Boyd would maintain with a brand new offensive coordinator during his first season as the man under center.

Boyd went on to lead Clemson to its first ACC title in two decades, finishing the 2011 campaign with 3,828 passing yards with 33 touchdowns.

Stoudt began and ended the season as the No. 2 and has remained there to this day.

A lot of other quarterbacks would transfer if they were in those shoes, but not Stoudt.

"I don't think there's any other place like Clemson. I've loved it ever since I've been here," he said. "The coaches are great. It's just, being around these coaches is like being around another family.

"Before my parents moved down from Ohio, Clemson was all I had. Whenever I had to go talk to someone, it would be the coaches. They're more parents to me. I don't think I could ever leave. Even after college, I might just stay in Clemson."

Now, Stoudt finds himself in the middle a battle with Chad Kelly for his No. 2 spot.

"The competition between Chad and me is good. It's actually really good," Stoudt said. "It's making us work hard and it's making us push Tajh, which we really need to do."

Dabo Swinney and Chad Morris have listed Stoudt as the early leader for this fall's second-team job.

"You can really see Cole's maturity level, this being his third-year in it now," Morris said. "I'm really proud of Cole and where he is. It's not a lot, by no means. But he's pushing. And he's having a much better spring this year than he did last year."

Stoudt, who's thrown for 327 yards and three touchdowns while at Clemson, is relaxing and having more fun this spring.

Plus, his knowledge and level of comfort in the offense have both improved.

"I'm just starting to know a little more about the game, why certain plays are called," Stoudt said. "We could be calling something for later, down the road, or it's just a strategy with the plays. This being the third-year, I'm just kind of getting the strategies down."

Like every spring, he said, this one is important.

"I think this one is, probably, pretty big. Because, next year when Tajh is gone, it's going to be Chad and me battling it out again," Stoudt said. "I'm trying to learn as much as I can and be the best that I can be so I can earn some playing time next year. I'm hoping I will." Top Stories