Spring Storylines: Offense

The three-man race for the starting quarterback job will begin on Wednesday afternoon when Clemson has the first of 15 spring practices.

Dabo Swinney will kick off the proceedings with a Tuesday afternoon press conference in the West End Zone. After Wednesday's practice, four more dates are tentatively scheduled before spring break.

Practice will resume on the 24th and continue through April. The annual Orange and White Spring Game is scheduled for Saturday, April 12.

In the meantime, we'll be keeping an eye on the following storylines and position battles.

The QB battle of 2014

Swinney has experience with quarterback battles, but it's been a while since he's overseen one. All the way back in 2009, his first year as Clemson's head coach, Willy Korn and Kyle Parker were the candidates. Now, after two years with Parker and three from Tajh Boyd, it's a three-way race between Cole Stoudt, Chad Kelly and Deshaun Watson.

If odds were set on this battle, Stoudt would probably be the favorite. His three years of experience and higher career snap total are among the factors working for him.

Kelly was the first quarterback signed by Chad Morris at Clemson. To ensure that Watson made it to campus, Morris promised that he wouldn't pursue a quarterback in the 2012 cycle.

Just how soon a starter is named remains to be seen, but it's probably not going to happen this spring. It's also not out of the realm of possibility that Clemson runs a two-quarterback system in 2014.

The next 1,000 yard back?

Andre Ellington eclipsed the mark in 2011 and 2012. Roderick McDowell surpassed it in 2013. Before the last three seasons, there was no doubt as to who the starting running back would be, and each went wire-to-wire [spring practice, preseason camp, the season] as the starter.

The list of candidates was trimmed down last month when Tyshon Dye went down with a torn Achilles. His classmate, Wayne Gallman, will join Zac Brooks, D.J. Howard and C.J. Davidson in the competition.

Among the three veterans, Howard had the most carries [57] in 2013. Brooks recorded 48 and Davidson had 34. In the Orange Bowl, Davidson played the biggest role, though Brooks was coming off a minor shoulder procedure.

Up next at receiver


Humphries is the most experienced WR on the roster.
Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant will go through their pro day on Thursday. Watkins might be one of the first five picks in the draft and Bryant could be an early-to-mid-round selection.

Watkins was a three-year starter at the 2-position with Adam Humphries spending a majority of that time as his backup. Humphries will be pushed by Germone Hopper. Freshman Artavis Scott projects to play position. Kyrin Preister could also be a fit.

At the 9-position, Bryant logged 580 snaps last season, but Mike Williams [404] pushed him for playing-time through the year. Williams is expected to be the man there, but the Clemson coaches will want someone to push him. Freshman Demarre Kitt profiles best at the position. Priester could work here, too.

With Charone Peake still recovering from ACL surgery, Humphries could also see reps at the 5-position. This could be a potential spot for Kitt and Priester. Their fellow class of 2014 signee, Trevion Thompson, is likely headed for the position when he gets to school later this summer.

Working up front

Offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell will have to replace two starters. Former left tackle Brandon Thomas has emerged as one of the hottest lineman prospects this draft season. Plus, there's a void left behind by Tyler Shatley, who took nearly every right guard snap the last two seasons.

Fortunately, for Caldwell and the three quarterback prospects, there are some quality candidates for left tackle and right guard.

Isaiah Battle, who spent the end of 2013 as the starting right tackle, will probably move to the left-side. That would open the job on the right-side with Shaq Anthony, Joe Gore and Eric MacLain looking like the primary contenders. Anthony, the most experienced candidate, is probably the favorite.

Kalon Davis, who's played a significant role in the left guard rotation in each of the last two seasons, might be in line for a move to right guard. MacLain and Reid Webster could be in the mix, too.

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