Now that quarterback room has shrunk to four guys with the transfers of Zerrick Cooper and Tucker Israel, Clemson quarterbacks coach Brandon Streeter has a better idea on how he is going to work his quarterbacks this spring.
No longer is he concerned about how he is going to distribute the reps when spring practice begins on Feb. 28. He says the snaps between Kelly Bryant, Hunter Johnson, Chase Brice and Trevor Lawrence are all going to be similar.
No surprise Bryant will start off by getting the first team reps after leading the Tigers to a third straight ACC Championship last fall as well as third straight trip to the College Football Playoff.
“Obviously, Kelly Bryant is going to go in as the starter from Day One,” Streeter said. “What an unbelievable year that he had and just an unbelievable leader on this team, and he earned it all year. He earned it from a year ago.
“He is obviously going to get the first reps the first day, but all four of those guys are going to get a lot of reps this spring. There is no doubt about it. I can’t say they are going to be perfectly equal, but they are going to be pretty close to being equal.”
Bryant threw for 2,802 yards last season, while completing 65.8 percent of his passes. He also ran for 665 yards and had 24 total touchdowns.
By the end of the year, Johnson shared the backup duties with Cooper. However, he got very little playing time, mainly playing in mop-up duty. He played in seven games and completed 21-of-27 passes for 234 yards. He threw two touchdown passes, including a 78-yard touchdown to fellow freshman Tee Higgins.
Brice redshirted in 2017 and was on the scout team all year. However, Streeter said he made tremendous strides both physically and mentally in the redshirt year and took a big step in processing the whole offense.
Then there is Lawrence, the 5-star signee from Georgia, who was the No. 1 player in the country coming out of high school. Lawrence signed with Clemson in December and enrolled in school last month so he can participate in spring drills.
Lawrence finished his high school career with a 52-2 record as a starter and won two state championships. He broke Deshaun Watson’s Georgia state record for passing yards (13,908) and touchdown passes (161) in a career.
He had 41 touchdown passes and one interception in 12 games last season.
“They are all very, very talented young men and special young men,” Streeter said. “So we are just really excited about the opportunity this spring to watch these guys grow and get better and especially just be able to work with these young men.”