Walk-on QB excited to be a Tiger

CLEMSON - When Dan Brooks came on board at Clemson on March 30, he saw the Tigers were in need of a quarterback after Jon Richt decided to transfer to Mars Hill just before the start of spring practice.

So Brooks, the defensive tackles coach at Clemson, made a suggestion to offensive coordinator Billy Napier and head coach Dabo Swinney. He suggested they get a good long look at Taylor Ogle of Gatlinburg Pittman High School (Tenn.) and handed them his tape.

The look turned into an evaluation and the evaluation turned into a phone call and the phone call turned into an official visit and the official visit turned into an offer for Ogle to walk on at Clemson this summer as a preferred walk-on.

"Their offense is one that I like to run," Ogle said. "I talked to Coach Napier for quite a while that night. I ate dinner with him. He was sitting right across from me and we talked about everything. We talked about how (the offense) is going to be run and when they wanted me to come down there and what it is like to play college football."

Ogle turned down walk-on offers from Tennessee and Virginia after visiting Clemson during spring drills. In fact, he was on hand for the second stadium scrimmage and then later talked with Swinney and went out to dinner with Napier.

"(The visit) definitely jumped Clemson to the top," Ogle said. "Virginia is such a great academic school and it was such a hard school to turn down. It came down to where I was going to be the happiest, and it came down to Clemson."

Swinney was one of the main reasons why he felt coming to Clemson was the right place for him.

"Coach Swinney is a terrific guy," said Ogle, who plans to enroll at Clemson in late June in order to begin workouts during second summer session. "His faith is important to him and so is winning football games. He puts his faith on the field and I love that. He is just a great coach and a great man."

Ogle also admires Brooks, a guy who became a family friend years ago when he first got to Tennessee.

"When he coached at Tennessee he became real good friends with my uncle, Jim," Ogle said. "They became good friends and Jim became good friends with the coaching staff. They got really close."

Ogle first got close to Clemson when his father, David, was a graduate student at Clemson years ago. While in elementary school, Ogle's Dad took his son to a Clemson game and from that moment - though he grew up a Tennessee fan - he was hooked on Clemson.

"At the beginning of the process my dad asked me if there was anywhere in the country that I would want to go and honestly, I said Clemson. It was my dream school," said Ogle, who threw for nearly 3,000 yards in his career and more than 30 touchdowns. "We went and watched a game and right when I step foot on campus, I loved everything about it. I watched one of the games and I just fell in love with it.

"After I took my official it just made me love it more."

Ogle will now love the competition he will face at Clemson. He will come in this summer as the fifth quarterback on the depth chart behind, in no order, Kyle Parker, Willy Korn, Michael Wade and Tajh Boyd.

Though he plans to redshirt this season, the two-time All-Conference and All-County quarterback says he is looking forward to the challenge.

"The quarterbacks that they have are really good and they are all going to be really good players that will be competing next year," said Ogle, who stands 6-foot-6 and weighs 195. "It might take a year for me to put on some weight, but what I bring to the table is definitely height.

"I'm pretty accurate and I think people will like to see if I can move or not. I think I move pretty well and I think I'm pretty smart with the ball."

Ogle threw for 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns to just five interceptions last year despite the fact he played part of the year with a broken finger on his throwing hand. The Tennessee standout hopes to up his weight to 220 pounds by the end of next spring so he will be ready to compete next fall.

"I'm more about staying in the pocket and making the throw," Ogle said. "If I get hit that's okay. I'm going to make the throw. I can run when I need to."

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