There is always a major position battle or matchup that people look for in the Orange & White Spring game, and this year it was all about the quarterbacks.
Returning starter Kelly Bryant turned in a less than stellar outing, completing only 8-of-15 passes for 35 yards in the Orange teams 28-17 victory on Saturday at Death Valley.
On the other hand, sophomore Hunter Johnson and early enrollee freshman Trevor Lawrence both had their fair share of highlights.
Lawrence completed 11-of-16 passes for 122 yards and a touchdown, while Johnson completed 8-of-14 passes for 85 and a touchdown pass and also adding a touchdown with his legs (impressive considering that QB’s were ruled down by touch in the spring game for safety).
Johnson’s status was a bit cloudy (and still is) going into the summer, as he is wedged in between Bryant and Lawrence, the No. 1 overall player from this year’s recruiting class.
But Johnson did his job in the spring game and felt good after his team picked up the victory.
“It was a good day. It was a lot of fun out there,” the sophomore said. “I was a little anxious to go out there and get this Spring Game in the books. It was a great atmosphere and there was a great crowd out there today.”
Having been on the team and a jump start on the offensive gives him a definite leg up on the competition and could lead to a possible starting job if he continues to execute.
“I felt comfortable,” Johnson said. “There was a big difference having a full year under my belt so it was fun going out there. The guys did their job and were able to execute out there, score some points and get the victory.”
Overall, Johnson thinks he is in a good place, although he still considers the job very tightly contested with no real leaders.
“I like where I’m at,” he said. “It’s definitely competitive, but we all love it and enjoy it. It’s a good group.”
Johnson told The Clemson Insider he will use this summer to try his best to be “that guy” for the Tigers this year.
“I’m just going to keep working and improving,” he said. “I’m absolutely going to do everything I can just to improve my game and control what I can control to be that player for the team.”
He said he felt learning the system and pace of college football has been his biggest improvement since joining the Tigers.
“I just feel a lot more comfortable having a year under my belt with the offense,” Johnson said. “Just being a step faster with my decisions and just being more confident in where I’m going with the ball.”
In terms of specific parts of his game he plans to improve, the most noticeable during the spring game was his footwork, especially with planting on quick throws.
“For me, I want to work on my footwork this offseason,” he said. “That is something Coach Streeter has really been stressing to all of us.”
Johnson said the spring game was a success for him and his team.
“I just really wanted to come out here and have fun and obviously get the win,” he said. “When we split the teams up the other day we felt confident about our chances. It was just great to come out here today and get the victory.”