Breaking down the Tigers’ signal callers
Does anyone have it any better at quarterback than Clemson?
First off, the Tigers have the best quarterback in the country in Trevor Lawrence. You can also argue they have the best backup as well in Chase Brice.
Then there is freshman Taisun Phommachanh, who ESPN called one of the best pocket quarterbacks in the nation coming out of high school.
So, it appears the Tigers are in good shape at the quarterback position heading into the 2019 season. Here is a breakdown of the position as Clemson heads into summer workouts.
Trevor Lawrence, So., 6-6, 215: Lawrence proved he was the best quarterback in the country when he outplayed Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa in the national championship game. Lawrence was magnificent as he completed 20 of 32 passes for 347 yards and three touchdowns. He had a quarterback rating of 91.5 in the game as Clemson rolled to a 44-16 victory. Lawrence finished the season 11-0 as a starter and became the first freshman quarterback since 1985 to lead his team to a national championship. The blonde bomber did not just do it to Alabama, he did it to everyone. He finished the year completing 65.2 percent of his 397 attempts for 3,280 yards and 30 touchdowns. He threw just four interceptions. At the end of the year, he earned ACC Rookie of the Year honors. He heads into 2019 as one of the favorites to win the Heisman Trophy.
Chase Brice, So., 6-2, 220: Brice will forever be remembered at Clemson for his heroic effort in leading the Tigers in a come-from-behind victory over Syracuse in Week 5. Though his stats from the game are not impressive (7-13, 83 yards, I INT), it was his poise and demeanor that stood out the most, especially late in the game when Clemson needed him to make plays. As you all know by now, Brice came off the bench for an injured Lawrence in the second quarter that afternoon at Death Valley. Senior Kelly Bryant left the team on the previous Monday after head coach Dabo Swinney named Lawrence the starting quarterback for the game. Brice had little game experience, but in the fourth quarter, on the game-winning drive, he completed a 20-yard pass to Tee Higgins on a fourth-and-six play to keep the Tigers’ hopes alive. He then called his own number on a 17-yard run that set up Travis Etienne’s game-winning touchdown with 41 seconds to play. Brice’s performance did wonders for his confidence and it lifted the coaches’ confidence in him as well. He did not play in any big moments after the Syracuse game, but he gave the coaches confidence they had a guy they can count on if his number is ever called on again. Brice finished the year completing 62.7 percent of his passes for 442 yards. He had 5 touchdowns to 3 interceptions, while completing 32 of 51 passes.
Taisun Phommachanh, Fr., 6-4, 210: He enrolled at Clemson in January and went through spring drills. According to Swinney and co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott, the freshman had a good spring. In the spring game, he completed 8 of 14 passes for 85 yards in helping the White team beat the Orange. In High School, he was ranked among the top quarterbacks in the nation and was the No. 1 player in the state of Connecticut. Rivals.com listed him as best player in Connecticut and fifth best quarterback in the nation, 247Sports ranked him as the fifth-best player in Connecticut and third-best quarterback in the nation. Phommachanh played his high school football at Avon Old Farms School. He also played two years at Harding High School in Bridgeport. In his career, he completed 339 of 556 passes for 5,224 yards and 46 touchdowns against 12 interceptions. He also had 300 rushes for 1,264 yards and 25 touchdowns, giving him 6,492 yards of total offense and 71 touchdowns. He had his best year in 2017 when he had passing efficiency of 205 and completed 135-192 passes for 2,253 yards and 22 touchdowns against just one interception at Avon Old Farms. He also had 122 carries for 633 yards for another 17 touchdowns. In all, he accounted for 39 touchdowns in just nine games and took his team to an 8-1 record.
Ben Batson, Fr., 6-0, 200: Batson was redshirted last year after he moved over from safety to quarterback to help the Tigers with depth following the departure of Hunter Johnson, who transferred to Northwestern last summer. Though he did not play much, he got the opportunity to learn more behind quarterbacks coach Brandon Streeter, as well as learn the playbook better. Batson played seven snaps in two games while redshirting. He made his collegiate debut in the second half at Wake Forest, rushing once for four yards. He also saw action at Florida State, gaining two yards on a rush. In high school, he played three years at Daniel High School before transferring to Dorman High School for his senior year, when he led it to a 12-3 record and a spot in the state finals. He had 2,993 total yards as a senior. He was 134 of 228 passing for 1,792 yards and 13 touchdowns. He had 1,201 yards and 13 touchdowns on 152 carries as well. He had five 100-yard rushing games that year. He was also the starting quarterback at Daniel High School as a freshman, sophomore and junior before transferring to Dorman.