The quarterback competition at Clemson appears to be far from over, and even when a starter is named for Game 1, the battle could continue into the season.
Tigers coach Dabo Swinney spoke in Columbia at a Prowl and Growl event on Tuesday and, to no one’s surprise, everyone wanted to talk about the quarterbacks.
“Regardless of where we are today, we’ve got a long way to go before we play in September, and no matter what happens in September, I don’t think the competition’s just going to end,” Swinney said. “I think we’ve got guys on the roster that are going to be driven each and every day to either be the guy or beat the guy out or make the guy better or whatever it may be.”
Clemson returns its starter in Kelly Bryant, who led the Tigers to an ACC championship and the College Football Playoff in 2017.
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But the senior is being pushed by sophomore Hunter Johnson, freshman Trevor Lawrence and redshirt freshman Chase Brice.
Lawrence was the most impressive of the four during Clemson’s spring game this past Saturday, completing 11 of 16 passes for 122 yards and a touchdown.
Brice threw for the most yards with 231 but also tossed three interceptions. Johnson was solid, completing 8 of 14 passes for 85 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Bryant had perhaps the worst day, struggling with his accuracy while going 8-for-15 for 35 yards.
Swinney was asked if Clemson could play two or three quarterbacks in a game this season and joked that it would be a lot easier on Clemson’s coaching staff if the Tigers could play two quarterbacks at the same time.
“It depends on how many balls they’ll let me have. Maybe they’ll let us have two huddles and two balls. That’d be a lot easier to figure out,” he said. “But it’s exciting. We’ve got good players. We’ve got great young men. That’s a position where we’ve got a high level of character, high level of intelligence. And they all want to be the guy. They’ve got good relationships with each other, so it’s a real positive for our program.”
No matter who ends up as the Tigers starter throughout much of the 2018 season, Swinney doesn’t mind the battle being a highly discussed topic.
“I like having the attention on any position that has a lot of talent. That’s a good thing when you’ve got people that see multiple guys that are very talented at a certain spot — quarterback or running back or receiver, D-line, whatever it may be,” Swinney said. “I think that’s always a positive when you’ve got great competition.”