ESPN analyst makes 'bold' prediction on 2018 Clemson QB, Playoff chance
|2018-01-12 13:27:42.0- -||
Clemson is set to return starting QB Kelly Bryant from an ACC Championship and Playoff run in 2018.
By spring ball, Bryant is in line as one of a host of scholarship quarterbacks fighting for position, and with five-star signee Trevor Lawrence already on campus, speculation abounds among national and regional pundits on just how that QB-1 role will shake out next season.
ESPN’s Mark Schlabach is in that camp, where one of his “Bold” predictions Friday was Lawrence leading Clemson back to the Playoff as a starter in his freshman season.
“Bryant, a rising senior, will have a difficult time holding off Lawrence," Schlabach writes, "an incoming freshman and early enrollee, who is ranked the No. 1 pocket passer and No. 2 player overall in the ESPN 300. Lawrence, from Cartersville, Georgia, is 6-foot-6 and 209 pounds. He has been described as a ‘once-in-a-generation kind of player,’ kind of like the last Clemson quarterback from Georgia: Deshaun Watson.
“Even with a freshman quarterback, Clemson will join Alabama in the CFP. Two other teams with first-year quarterbacks -- Oklahoma and Ohio State -- will also make the four-team field.”
A two-time state champion at Cartersville (Ga.), Lawrence broke a pair of Watson state passing records, throwing for 13,902 yards and 161 touchdowns. This past season, Lawrence connected for 3,290 yards with 41 touchdowns to one interception.
A four-star prospect out of Wren (S.C.), Bryant started all 14 games last season and went 12-1 in games he played in both the first and second half (did not play the second half in Syracuse after going into concussion protocol).
He finished 10th nationally in completion percentage (65.8) with 2,802 passing yards and 13 touchdowns to eight interceptions. Bryant led the ACC in passer rating on throws of 20-plus yards according to Pro Football Focus (115.4).
Clemson QB Kelly Bryant saw the ACC's highest passer rating on deep passes this season. pic.twitter.com/OiEeo2ACk1— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) January 12, 2018
The Calhoun Falls native paced Clemson in rushing attempts (192), and taking out sacks, also led the Tigers in rushing yards (854/5.1 yards per carry) with 11 touchdowns.
Clemson has five QBs on campus currently who were rated four-star or higher out of high school, including two five-star prospects in Lawrence and rising sophomore Hunter Johnson.
Clemson QBs coach Brandon Streeter recently told TigerNet that the best performing QB will get the job.
"They understand they have to earn it. Trevor understands that," Streeter said. "At the same time, the best guy is going to play. It doesn't matter if you're a true freshman or a redshirt senior or a walk-on. It doesn't matter. The best guy is going to play because we'd be not very smart coaches if we didn't play the best guys."
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