Familiar territory for Dabo

CLEMSON - After next week's Orange Bowl, Dabo Swinney will find himself in a similar kind of predicament that kick started his head coaching career.

Who the heck is going to play quarterback for Clemson?

Back in 2009, it was a three-way battle between Willy Korn, the proclaimed savior of Clemson football, Kyle Parker, the baseball player, and Tajh Boyd, the five-star freshman.

Parker went on to win the job, and after two seasons, he moved on to professional baseball, giving way to Boyd. One ACC title, a couple of BCS bowl invites and a whole slew of records later, Boyd's three-year run as the Clemson quarterback is coming to a close.

Starting in January, Cole Stoudt, Chad Kelly and Deshaun Watson will begin their battle.

"There are a lot of things. If you're going to be the quarterback at Clemson, everything counts," Swinney said, during Friday's media availability in Clemson.

"Tajh Boyd has done a tremendous job, but I know he's very confident in the guys that are going to be here in this program when he's gone. It's going to be a lot of fun."

No doubt.

Stoudt, a rising senior, has served as Boyd's backup in each of the last three seasons. He's completed 86 of 119 passes for 742 yards with eight touchdowns and one interception during that time.

Kelly, who will be a redshirt sophomore, is 10 of 17 passes with 58 yards and 117 yards rushing and a touchdown in 55 snaps this season.

Watson, a four-star prospect, according to Scout.com, has rewritten the Georgia high school football record books during his four-year run at Gainesville.

"I feel like we've set a foundation here where, to the point, we're going to be successful as a program, regardless of who takes the reins," Boyd said. "Hopefully, I'll put my stamp on those guys and they'll learn a lot from everything, good and bad."

He looks forward to watching it unfold from a distance.

"It's going to be an intriguing kind of quarterback battle, debate, whatever you want to call it," Boyd said. "Whoever is in that starting role, [he] is going to be the best player for this team.

"It's more than just football…you've got to be able to perform, but it's other things as well. It's the outside aspect of not just football. You've got to be able to communicate. You've got to be able to represent yourself, because it's not just representation for this football team, but for the state."

Boyd knows, because he's been doing it for the last three years.

"I'm sad that Tajh has to move on, because that's the nature of it, but I'm excited about the guys that we have to work with," Swinney said. "It's going to be a lot of fun to see them compete, because this is a very talented group of guys that are on our roster at that position.

"It's a good problem to have, and one that I look forward to being a part of, watching the competition and how it plays out."

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