Korn Not Far Away

CLEMSON - If freshman signal caller Willy Korn continues to progress the way he did during Clemson's 15 spring practices then he will have a legitimate shot of challenging first-string quarterback Cullen Harper come August.

Though no official depth chart has been released as of Wednesday afternoon, it is expected Korn will be the Tigers' No. 2 quarterback, behind Harper, when Clemson enters summer camp in three months.

The true freshman, who set every kind of passing record there was at Byrnes High School in Duncan, S.C., really impressed offensive coordinator Rob Spence and head coach Tommy Bowden with the way he learned the offense and absorbed so much information in a short period of time.

"We are really pleased with the way he progressed," Spence said. "If you look at where he started on Day 1 and where he is now after just 15 practices, it is truly remarkable." Spence did not say whether or not Korn could challenge Harper for the starting job in August, but he and Bowden did rave about his potential.

"A high school guy coming in and doing the things we ask our quarterbacks to do like run checks, protections, reads and things like that, it has been an awful heavy opportunity thrown his way and we have been really pleased with the way he has responded," Bowden said. "He definitely has shown that he belongs in the hunt."

But don't start buying any Willy Korn jerseys just yet.

Spence and Bowden also raved about Harper and said the redshirt junior proved a lot to the coaches on how he handled and ran the offense. Remember, Harper was the only quarterback in the spring to work with the first-team offense.

"He got the first opportunity and he ran with," Bowden said.

Though he will be getting a lot of pressure from Korn, the coaches believe Harper, if he performs the same way in fall camp as he did in the spring, can lead and has proven he has the tools to be the Tigers' new quarterback.

"He really has to have a poor off-season and a poor August, not be, which is really out of his character," Bowden said.

The rising redshirt junior completed 42-of-66 passes this spring for 457 yards and five touchdowns in Clemson's three stadium scrimmages. The most impressive statistic of all – he threw no interceptions.

Spence said Harper has to work on his athletic ability and agility in the off-season as well as work on his pocket movement and his ability to avoid the rush.

"I have a lot of work to do in the weight room and I will try to continue to get better in every aspect," Harper said.

As for Korn, he gave himself a solid ‘A' for the spring, but he still understands he has a lot of work to do and learning to do in Spence's offense.

"There is a lot more of the playbook to be put in so I have to continue to learn the offense," he said. "And continue to work on my timing and get used to throwing the ball before guys get open. That's the difference in the college game. You want to put the football in the area before the receiver is open."

Korn has had his moments in the spring. He completed a couple of long passes in each of the stadium scrimmages, including a 36-yard touchdown to fellow freshman Brian Linthicum in the Spring Game last Saturday.

But Korn has also shown he has work to do on improving.

He threw an interception in each of the last two scrimmages and finished last Saturday afternoon completing just 13 of 25 passes for 135 yards with two interceptions.

"It is not an easy as people think," Korn said.

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