In the spring, everything was moving really fast for Hunter Johnson.
The five-star quarterback from Indiana had been on campus just a couple of months and he was still trying to adjust to being a college student and his own for the first time, while also competing for the starting job for the defending national champions.
It was an up-and-down spring for Clemson’s freshman quarterback, filled with some good moments and some not so good moments during the Tigers’ 15 practices. Johnson will go into fall camp, which begins on Aug. 3, as Clemson’s co-No. 2 quarterback on the depth chart behind junior Kelly Bryant and second-year freshman Zerrick Cooper.
“He is doing a really good job,” Clemson quarterbacks coach Brandon Streeter said earlier this week. “At that age when you come in, and you are still supposed to be in high school, you are asking a lot of someone to learn the playbook and absorb it in a couple of weeks in spring practice.
“With all of those young guys, it is just a matter of experience, getting thrown in there and getting reps and he was able to do that in the spring.”
The repetition was huge for Johnson as someone who Streeter believes can push Bryant for the starting job. Johnson came out of high school rated as the top quarterback in the nation by ESPN. Mr. Football in the state of Indiana, Johnson threw for 2,233 yards and 25 touchdowns in his senior season at Brownsburg (Ind.) High School, while also rushing for 525 yards and three more scores. He threw 31 touchdown passes during his junior season in just 10 games.
“The key for him is to absorb everything he learned in the spring and regurgitate it all throughout the summer and that is what he has been doing,” Streeter said. “He has being work hard.”
Streeter said he spoke with Johnson earlier in the week and he reports the true freshman feels 100-percent better than he did in the spring.
“Whenever we were halfway through our spring practice, he was spinning like crazy trying to figure it all out, but now everything has slowed down because he has been able to go through it a million times in his mind and in the playbook,” Streeter said.
Johnson has also spent time studying himself on film from the 15 spring practices, while learning from his mistakes and his successes.
“He is learning and learning and learning,” Streeter said. “That is the next step, and hopefully that is what he has been able to do and we will see here in the preseason. We will see how he has improved.”
Hot off the Press!!! Have you ordered the 2017 Clemson season preview ‘Best is the Standard’ from the staff that covers Clemson football 365 days a year? Order yours today to make sure you get a copy!