Post Spring Analysis: Quarterback

Entering the start of spring practice, there was little doubt that Charlie Whitehurst was the clear cut starter at quarterback for the Clemson Tigers. The question that loomed over the team however involved his back up. Who would it be and would the coaches have any faith in his abilities should the unimaginable happen? <BR><BR> Upon the conclusion of spring practice, the Clemson coaching staff found their man.

In 2004, QB Charlie Whitehurst is poised to do something special.

After obliterating numerous school records through his first 18 games as a starter, Whitehurst is already being mentioned as one of the top returning signal callers in the country this year.

And should the Tigers get off to a fast start this season, there's little doubt that he'll be mentioned as a candidate for the Heisman Trophy.

And why not? He's the prototypical quarterback- possessing outstanding physical attributes, not to mention a cannon for an arm, and excellent poise and decision making.

This spring, Whitehurst continued to impress both his teammates and the Clemson coaching staff.

"Charlie's just being Charlie," said wide receiver Curtis Baham. "He hits you in stride every time, and he's just smooth in everything he does. You can tell that he understands everything about this offense, from the running backs to the wide receivers, he knows what he's doing and he's good at it."

"He's done everything we've asked of him," said Tommy Bowden. "He's had a real good spring for us and has looked good throwing the football."

Of course, that's only the tip of the iceberg for Charlie Whitehurst. He was one of the steadiest of performers on the field for the Tigers this spring, and he'll head into fall practice with enormous expectations on his shoulders.

A preseason ranking amongst the top 20 teams in the nation, a brutal schedule featuring road games at Texas A&M, Florida State, and Miami, not to mention a tough opening match up against Wake Forest, will be just some of the things on the mind of Charlie Whitehurst this summer.

"With the new teams coming in the ACC, that's what you expect," said Whitehurst. "But we've got a lot of guys coming back on both sides of the ball, so I'll take my chances. Last season, this was a different team the last four games, we've just got to carry that over into the start of next year."

While Whitehurst has clearly remained focused on the task at hand, his high level of play has now become the standard around Clemson. This spring, there was obviously never a doubt about his spot on the first team, or about his abilities in general.

Florida native Will Proctor's ability to solidify himself on the second team allowed the coaching staff the flexibility to move C.J. Gaddis to another position this spring.
All of those types of questions were reserved for the guys that will backing him up.

Former quarterback Chansi Stuckey, the only signal caller with game day experience on the roster, was moved to wide receiver before the start of spring ball. That left C.J. Gaddis and Will Proctor to battle it out for a spot on the second team.

And to the surprise of almost everyone, Will Proctor emerged victorious.

"I was just trying to capitalizing on my opportunity," said Proctor. "I've gotten a lot more reps and that's allowed me to make some mistakes and be able to learn from it. It feels pretty good. It just goes to show you that hard work pays off."

Proctor clearly earned the confidence of the coaching staff and that fact was proven when Gaddis was later moved to cornerback.

"I haven't really gotten the opportunity since I got here to go out and show the fans that they can fill comfortable if something does happen to Charlie," added Proctor. "And we're not going to skip a beat on offense."

Proctor's athletic ability has been something that most fans aren't too familiar with, but this spring, he clearly showed enough elusiveness to establish himself as a threat to run the football when called upon.

His overall accuracy throwing the football has also been a strength.

"Will Proctor has played extremely well this spring," said Bowden. "And he's given us much more confidence in our back up quarterback situation. His accuracy and decision making are two things that stand out."

Behind Proctor, walk-on quarterback Rush Lowther resides on the third team. Lowther has proven himself to be a valuable student of the game, not to mention that he also made several exciting plays during the Tigers' three scrimmages this spring.

Lowther will compete with incoming freshmen Tribble Reese and Cullen Harper for the final third team spot later this fall. Top Stories