2014 QB Battle

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2014 QB Battle

Since this weekend is an open date for the Tigers, I decided to touch on a subject that came to the front of my mind Saturday evening.

Who will be Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
RS Sr. Quarterback
#10 6-1, 225
Hampton, VA

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's successor?

Boyd has four more games to play before his career at Clemson is over.  In January a three-player battle between Cole StoudtCole Stoudt
Jr. Quarterback
#18 6-4, 205
Dublin, OH

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, Chad KellyChad Kelly
RS Fr. Quarterback
#11 6-2, 210
Buffalo, NY

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and DeShawn Watson will dominate conversations on Clemson websites, blogs, message boards, Twitter accounts and talk shows.

We have known the participants now for some time, but this past weekend many Clemson fans got a chance to see all three for the first time when all were healthy.

Friday night, Watson's team played on ESPNU and he impressed as he always seems to do.

Saturday, Stoudt continued his impressive junior season with an appearance early in the second half during the blowout at Virginia.

But the player that reintroduced himself to the battle was Kelly, who looked very good in the final quarter against the Cavs.  This was the first time we have seen Kelly healthy since the spring.

So, who has the inside track on the job and what will the battle look like next year?

I think each brings a unique skill set to the table.  Stoudt has the advantage in terms of experience.  He has prepared more and is the only one to play in significant situations in college.  At this point, Stoudt appears to be the more polished passer considering the fact he has completed almost 80% of his passes this season.

Kelly may be the best athlete of the three.  He has very good quickness and speed.  Kelly may not be as accurate as Stoudt but he does have the stronger arm.  Finally, Kelly believes in himself.  Few players have his confidence.

Watson will have the difficult task of trying to play a position that is extremely difficult to do as a true freshman.  However, he will have a complete spring and summer to get acclimated to the speed of the game and to learn the offense.  Watson may have the best overall skill set of the three.

There is little doubt that Clemson will miss Boyd's toughness, leadership and experience.  But the hope is that the system is good enough that the Tigers offense will look like Baylor, in that the players come and go but the offense just keeps clicking.  The Bears have had three different quarterbacks in the past three years but have been better overall, despite losing a Heisman trophy signal caller two years ago.

I think most understand what each player brings to the table in terms of strengths, but I am encouraged by the high levels in terms of their weaknesses.  For example, Stoudt is a terrific pocket passer but I think he is a better athlete than some give him credit for.  I think he is a better runner than some believe.

Kelly is a terrific runner but I think he is a better passer than some think at this point.  I definitely believe in his ability to develop as a passer.

And Watson is a well-rounded prospect that has few weaknesses.

Therefore, I am encouraged by the thought that that the skill set each player is working with is more well-rounded than some may believe.

In the end, I think the staff may have to decide what the identity of the offense will be in order to determine a starter.  For instance, if Martavis BryantMartavis Bryant
Jr. Wide Receiver
#1 6-5, 200
Calhoun Falls, SC

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comes back to school, Charone PeakeCharone Peake
Jr. Wide Receiver
#19 6-3, 200
Moore, SC

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comes back healthy, Mike WilliamsMike Williams
Fr. Wide Receiver
#7 6-5, 205
Vance, SC

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and Germone HopperGermone Hopper
RS Fr. Wide Receiver
#5 6-0, 170
Charlotte, NC

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continue to develop and the freshmen wide outs are as good as advertised, then the offense may be better off with Stoudt spreading the ball all over the field in the passing game.

If the staff likes Zac BrooksZac Brooks
So. Running Back
#24 6-1, 185
Jonesboro, AR

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, Tyshon DyeTyshon Dye
Fr. Running Back
#23 6-1, 205
Elberton, GA

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, Wayne GallmanWayne Gallman
Fr. Running Back
#9 6-1, 195
Loganville, GA

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, C.J. DavidsonC.J. Davidson
RS So. Running Back
#32 5-11, 185
Clemson, SC

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and the freshmen running backs and thinks the offensive line can produce holes in the running game, then Kelly may be the best option.

Then again, maybe Watson comes into town and blows them away.

There is also the possibility that the staff will feel comfortable playing two quarterbacks or the battle may continue in the first few games until the competition settles itself.  Maybe this battle will continue into October.

One of my hopes is that an injury won't be a factor.  I hope the best man wins the job and hope injuries don't decide the position.

In January we will say good bye to perhaps the greatest quarterback in school history and the battle to succeed him will be extremely interesting.

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Those who need our prayers include: Finn Brookover, Jo Ann Bachman, Kenneth Bryant, Pruitt Martin, Got Igers and his family, David Rowland, Leonard, Gillespie and his family, Jim S., Daniel Rosborough, the Huffman family, Nancy Winkler, John Reeve, Vinnie Brock, Kaitlyn L., Susan Miller, Joyce Harley, Steve Proveaux, Jeffrey Greene, the Hutto family, Sherl Drawdy, Caleb Kennedy, Teresa O'Connor, Matt Jacobs, Perrin Seigler, Candee Massee, Lindsey Jordan, Sam Catoe, Tyler Felch, the Nicolopulos family, "the Jacksonville, FL guys," Kim Sims, the Coyle family, Ryleigh Tedder, Steve Lee, Kelly Trakas, Jimmy Moore, the Thomas V. family, Emary Claire Young, Kitty Bowers, Julie Locke, the Scheider family, Lauren Kittles' family, Frank Gentry, Joyce Bussey, Stacey McKeown, Dale Childs, Larry Lentz, Jr., Carl Sharperson, Scott Hannon, William Perry, Tyler Swaney, Lillian, Mark Feit, David Frame, Chad Berry, the family of Matthew M. Watson, the Dowis family, Shervin Messer, Alan Putnam, the Olivers, Lee Tate, Ronnie Abrams, Eddie Greene, the Jackson family, Bill Vader, Jim Taylor, Tina DeWitt, Rock Horne, Christopher Tuten, Bobby Wayne Thomas, Emma and Danielle Carothers, Robert Ditty, Mr. and Mrs. Murray Smith, Dot Cartee, Ayden Mills, Millie Heatley, Lynn Martin and family, Michael Pinson, Jake David family, Angie Crowley, Ira, Mike Tolson, Poly Wells, Dr. Muriel Bishop, Jack Cunningham, Emily Jefford Meister, Zachary Stoller, Aaron Clackum, Pat James, Cortney Moore, William Moore, Angelia and Savannah Anderson, William Ross, Meredith Legg, Scott Johns, Frank Carroll, Brandon ThompsonBrandon Thompson
Defensive Tackle
#98 6-2, 310
Thomasville, GA

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, Alvin Sammons, Georgine McAlhaney, Glen Davis, Mike Price, Clay Childers, Aaron Knight, Danielle Johnston and family, Nicholas Abrams, Lana Kuykendall, Gary, Gary G., William Huggins, Jim Bennett, Chantz Fowler, Ethel McElveen, Michele Gurganus, William Gentry, Lewis Usher and Tanya Sanders,  Shon Cooper, Nick Collins, Amanda Peake, Danny Hammond, Chip Turner, Nick Collins, Allen Steen, the Sturkey family, the Lance family, Nick Chrisley's family, Allison Williams, Lt. Kyle Walker, Summer and Joel Johnson, Nicole O'Donnell, James O. Johnson, Joy Pruett and family, Bill Schmidt, Jack Bailey, Gardner Family, Charles Turner, Kathy Bartholomew, Ray Sanders, David and Robin Blocker, J.R. Ray, Kenneth Kowe, Lauren Sielicki, Doug Bailey and family, Jenna Phipps, Mark Lawrence, Harlan Sullins, Peter Laboy, Kat and Carlisle Jones, Elizabeth Galloway and family, Anita McDonald, Willard Harryman, Liz Surratt, Molly Senn, Jackie Shearer, Richard Sellers, Tim Drisdelle, Edward Easterling, Dawson Bourne, Susan and Mike Brown, Julie Goodman Marshall, Willard and Dorothy Harryman, Justin Jernigan, Jack  Cunningham,  Mia Daughtery, Tee Senn, Jim Lanier, Bob Garrett, Skylar, Joseph Thomas, Mrs. Nelis, Jeanne Thompson, Sean Rowell, George Parker, Levon KirklandLevon Kirkland
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and family, and our great country and the men and women in uniform that protect and serve it every day, plus their families.

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