Clemson quarterbacks coach Brandon Streeter sees status quo at backup QB, where rising sophomore Kelly Bryant and rising senior Nick Schuessler shared playing time in 2015.
“We'll see how they do this spring, and see how they come out of the spring, and see if that changes at all,” Streeter said. “But that’s how we’re going … heading (into) spring ball.”
A possible challenger come summer is four-star signee Zerrick Cooper, who was on one of the top basketball teams in the state of Georgia at Jonesboro. Streeter says he could see another element to Cooper on the court, showing athleticism and leadership on a team that won one of its games 116-14 last month.
Cooper committed in October 2014, preceding Streeter’s tenure, but the former Clemson QB made it a priority to find out plenty about the newest member of his team.
“I’ve developed a great relationship with Zerrick Cooper,” Streeter said. “He’s a special kid and he’s got a special family. I took over the reins basically and got to go down there quite often to visit not only with him and his family, but the school and the coaches there. Got to watch him in spring practice last year.
“That was the first time that I had the opportunity to watch him throw live. Obviously anybody that we recruit at Clemson, they’re going to be a really good football player. I knew he was good, but whenever you get to see him for the first time throw live – man, it was special. He has an unbelievable arm. Unbelievable talent.”
Cooper suffered a torn ACL in summer workouts before his junior campaign, which Clemson coach Dabo Swinney counted as being “really fortunate” in a way for the Tigers so as to keep him off others’ recruiting “radar.”
“This guy can absolutely throw a frozen rope,” Swinney said. “He can spin the football. He’s very accurate. He came back this year and really willed his teams to wins week-in and week-out. Smooth player.
“He’s 6-3-plus, almost 6-4. He can run. But he is absolutely gifted when he throws the football. Just special. You hear it in the stands when it comes out of his hands. It’s flying.”
Cooper was named Region 4-AAAA player of the year in leading Jonesboro to its first region title since 1949, throwing for more than 2,000 yards with 21 touchdowns.
“Basically just sitting that one year opened my eyes,” said Cooper on Signing Day. “Sat back and learned the game more. Perfected my craft more often and it just led into my senior year.”
Clemson has had a true freshman quarterback contribute each of the last two seasons, with Deshaun Watson and Bryant. The Tigers’ second-year QB coach already has an idea of what’s he going to work on with Cooper.
“I’m really excited about him, developing him into being a cerebral all-around quarterback,” said Streeter. “He’s got the talent. It’s always the question coming in as a true freshman – how much knowledge do they have coming in? And how much do you have to continue to teach them? I’m anxious for him to grow.”