Summer position glimpse: Quarterback

After an eventful end to spring practice, the Clemson quarterbacks will head into the summer with a pretty good idea of where things stand.

The quarterback competition was supposed to spill over into the summer and through preseason camp, but Chad Kelly's dismissal from the team has significantly changed things.

Quarterback


Projected starter: RS senior Cole Stoudt

Backups: Freshman Deshaun Watson appears to be in line for the No. 2 job, but he'll be pushed for that spot by Stanford transfer David Olson, a graduate student who will be eligible to play immediately upon arrival. Walk-on Nick Schuessler will also contend for a spot on the depth chart behind Stoudt.

What we learned in the spring: Stoudt has the look and the sound of a guy who's ready to lead the Clemson offense into life after Tajh Boyd. In the spring game, Stoudt managed his way through the beginning before finding his rhythm and connecting on a pair of touchdown passes to Mike Williams and Jordan Leggett. To everyone's disappointment, Watson was out after breaking his collarbone during a scrimmage, but the practice reviews from coaches and teammates were all positive. Occupying Watson's role during the spring game, Schuessler showed flashes of a guy who might be worth giving a scholarship to down the road.

Long-term future: While Dabo Swinney shouldn't play Watson just for the sake of getting him experience, the Tigers' head coach may not have many opportunities to get him some run during one-sided games. After the season opener at Georgia, Clemson hosts S.C. State. Two weeks later, they're right into ACC play with Florida State, UNC, N.C. State and Louisville. Clemson has four more league games before hosting Georgia State a week before the South Carolina game.

Clemson has a pair of quarterbacks committed to the 2015 signing class: Kelly Bryant and Tucker Israel. Both are three-star prospects that are not-ranked among the quarterbacks by Scout.com, but each had strong offer sheets are fits for the scheme.

Moving forward: Stoudt may not be the prototypical quarterback for Chad Morris' hurry-up, no-huddle attack, but he's got enough ability and knowledge of the offense to make it work. Plus, it's not as if he's a statue. Stoudt does have some athleticism and ability to pick up positive yards with his feet -- just don't expect him to be a between the tackles plodder like Boyd was over the last few years. At the very least, Stoudt will be a game-manager who will do his part to keep Clemson in position to win 10 games again this season.

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