After signing arguably the best one-two punch at quarterback in the country in the 2017 class, Clemson has its target number of five scholarship quarterbacks on the roster.
Brownsburg (Ind.) five-star Hunter Johnson and Loganville (Ga.) Grayson four-star Chase Brice join rising junior Kelly Bryant, rising redshirt sophomore Tucker Israel and redshirt freshman Zerrick Cooper as the Tigers’ scholarship signal-callers.
Replacing Deshaun Watson won’t be easy, but the Tigers have no scarcity of talented options. Johnson comes in as the top-ranked pro-style quarterback in the nation by ESPN, while Brice carries top-200 prospect status by Rivals.com. Bryant, Cooper and Israel were all highly regarded recruits in their own right.
And the rich are getting richer. Of course, Trevor Lawrence, the consensus No. 1 overall prospect in the 2018 class regardless of position, committed to Clemson over Georgia in December.
Players like Watson don’t come around often, and it would be unfair to expect any of the aforementioned players to be the next Deshaun Watson. But Clemson has stockpiled elite skill at the position and has an ideal situation at quarterback despite losing a generational-type talent.
The Tigers will take one quarterback in the 2018 class, and Lawrence remains firm in his pledge as other schools such as Alabama and Georgia continue to pursue him (and will until he signs on the dotted line next year).
Lawrence is what every coach covets in a quarterback. The 6-foot-6, 200-pounder has the prototypical size for the position, a strong and accurate arm, and the athleticism to evade pressure in the pocket and throw precise passes on the move. He’s a winner, as well, having posted a 40-1 record with two state titles in three years as a starter, during which he threw for 118 touchdowns and more than 10,000 yards.
As a junior last season, Lawrence passed for 51 touchdowns to move ahead of Watson into third place on the all time, single-season Georgia high school passing touchdowns list. Watson had 50 touchdown passes in 2012.
The Tigers have a great track record under Dabo Swinney of retaining committed prospects, and one can be sure they will do everything in their power to make sure Lawrence wears Clemson orange in the future.
So, there’s nothing to worry about right now. Take these tweets posted after his latest visit to Clemson last month for Junior Day as proof that he’s all in:
Having Lawrence on board so early has allowed quarterbacks coach Brandon Streeter to spend more time evaluating and recruiting quarterbacks for future classes.
Looking ahead, it’s too early to say how many quarterbacks Clemson will take in the 2019 class, as it depends on attrition and other factors.
Clemson hasn’t extended any 2019 offers at quarterback, but a name to know is Scottsboro (Ala.) Scottsboro School dual-threat quarterback Bo Nix, the son of former Auburn quarterback Patrick Nix.
Bo has early offers from Auburn, Florida State, Ohio State and Tennessee among others. He participated in the Dabo Swinney Camp last summer and returned for the Louisville game in October. Streeter and co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott attended one of Bo’s basketball games on Jan. 20, 11 days after the Tigers won the national title.
Another name to keep an eye on is 2020 quarterback Clay Vance from St. John’s High in Washington, D.C., who will attend Clemson’s Junior Day this weekend.