QB or not QB

The back up quarterback is generally not the most popular player to interview during the week leading up to bowl game, but at Clemson University, things are a little different this time of year.

Certainly, with Charlie Whitehurst calling the shots the next two seasons, any player who serves as his back up, will likely spend a majority of his time "riding the pine," so to speak.

Or at least, that's what you would think.

Enter Georgia native and redshirt freshman quarterback Chansi Stuckey.

Stuckey was one of the top ranked "athletes" in the southeast coming out of Northside High School in Warner Robbins, Georgia back in 2001. He was recruited by Tennessee, Florida State, Auburn, Clemson, and a whole host of other schools that wanted his services.

But here's the catch- most of those schools wanted to convert him into a wide receiver or a running back. He was perceived to be too small to serve as a signal caller at the Division I-A level.

"A lot of schools wanted me to play different positions once I got there, but Clemson wanted me as a quarterback, and I guess you could say that played a role in my decision to come here," said Stuckey.

"It wasn't the only reason," Stuckey re-iterated. "But one of them."

Stuckey was promised the opportunity to play as a quarterback at Clemson, and indeed the Tigers' coaching staff backed up their words, as Chansi has served as the back up to Charlie Whitehurst all season long.

But now, with Charlie looking to finish up his last two years of eligibility as the starter, Stuckey finds himself in an interesting place heading into the bowl game and on into spring practice.

With 2 more quarterbacks coming in the 2004 class, Chansi Stuckey will likely have the chance to move to wide receiver next season.
You see, the secret is out on Stuckey's athleticism.

In fact, one could easily make the argument that Stuckey could start as a wide receiver at any school in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

"I like playing wide receiver, but I like playing quarterback too," said the redshirt freshman. "Right now I'm a quarterback, but if they feel like I can help the team out in other ways, then that's something I'll have to consider also."

With the loss of Kevin Youngblood this year, as well as Airese Currie and Derrick Hamilton next season, the Tigers are going to be in need of big time wide receiver that has the ability to score any time he touches the ball.

By all accounts, Chansi Stuckey fits the bill.

In only limited action as a wide out this year, Stuckey electrified the Clemson faithful by scoring on a 33-yard touchdown run at the end of the South Carolina game. He also proved to be one of the more elusive players on the field, even if some of his moves cost the Tigers yardage in the long run.

Overall, he finished the year with 17 rushes for 136 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, and 11-of-21 passing for 2 more scores.

"I like to have the ball in my hands," said Stuckey. "I feel like I can help out the team in a lot of ways. Right now that's as a quarterback and that's the only way I'm looking at it right now."

Admittedly, Stuckey's numbers are anything but mind boggling, but one look at him on film suggests that his potential in the Clemson offense was nowhere close to being reached this past season.

With incredible footwork and the uncanny ability to shift his momentum seemingly on a dime, comparisons to former Clemson star Woodrow Dantzler have already surfaced in the Clemson Nation.

But don't tell him that.

"It's been a good year for me, but I still have a long ways to go," Stuckey said. "After redshirting last year, I was just anxious to get in there and help the team out, and I think I did that."

For the mean time, Stuckey remains at quarterback, but don't be surprised to see him make another appearance as a wide receiver this Friday in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl.

"I hope so," he said with a grin. "You never know what will happen."

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