Monday Morning Quarterback
There are a lot of things that separate Clemson from most college football programs.
There is the Allen Reeves Football Complex, a state-of-the-art facility that offers everything a college football player could want when attending a school. There is Memorial Stadium, a.k.a. Death Valley, the home to one of the best game-day atmospheres in college football.
Then there is the culture. A culture where egos are left at the door and everyone takes a vow to be “All In,” to work hard and give it their all in the weight room, in workouts, on the practice fields and in the classroom. The mindset is simple, “Best is the Standard.”
What also puts Clemson over the top is how the best example of its culture starts at quarterback. The Tigers find themselves in a very unique situation where it has two quarterbacks that can led the program at the highest level.
Of course, there is Heisman Trophy candidate Trevor Lawrence, the guy who diced up Notre Dame’s and Alabama’s defenses in the College Football Playoff last year. He is a big reason why Clemson will likely enter the season as the preseason No. 1 team for the first time in school history.
Then there is Chase Brice, a former 4-star quarterback in high school, who led his Grayson (Ga.) team to a 40-7 record as a starter, including a 14-1 record his senior season, which ended with a Class 7-A State Championship.
“He can play anywhere. He is a great player,” Lawrence said about Brice. “Since I have gotten here, this past year, he has gotten so much better and is playing really well right now.”
Brice can play anywhere, including Clemson. If it was not for his performance coming off the bench last year for an injured Lawrence against Syracuse, the Tigers would not have gone undefeated and might not have won the national championship.
“He is awesome. He is a guy that really wants the best for everyone,” Lawrence said. “You see him out there, when anyone makes a play, he is always the first guy to run out there and is happy. He wants the best for everyone. So, he is a great teammate and he works hard.”
In this day and age of “Hey! Look at me” in sports, Brice is an example that there are still a lot of athletes out there that want what is best for the team and will sacrifice their own personal goals to help their team be successful.
It’s no secret Brice could be a starter at most other college programs around the country. With his experience and pedigree as a signal caller, most schools would love to have him. It would be easy for him to leave Clemson and go play somewhere else, like others, such as Kelly Bryant, Hunter Johnson and Zerrick Cooper, did before him.
“Of course, I think that would cross through someone’s mind, but I am here, and I will be great where my feet are,” Brice said. “Right here in Clemson is where I will grow, grow as a man and as a person. Obviously, as a football player, I feel like I definitely have gotten better since last season.”
Brice feels Clemson is too special of a place to leave. He likes the idea of being at a place that pushes everyone to be their absolute best in everything that they do.
“We are going to win and go places. We do a lot of different thing as a program that other colleges and other teams don’t get to experience. It is special,” he said. “You have to visit Clemson to know it. I came in when we won the national championship with Deshaun (Watson). Like a lot of guys, at first, all I saw was running down the hill and the flashing lights and the pictures. But you could also really see on their faces everything they put into the program. Then the former players like C.J. Spiller, he always comes back, listens on meetings, he is a part of it. I think that is what makes it special.”
Then there is his relationship with Lawrence. The two are close friends and it’s not just something they say because they compete against each other in practice. Their friendship is genuine, and it permeates through the whole team.
“My personality and Trevor’s personality, we are both nonchalant and lackadaisical,” Brice says. “We will crack jokes every now and then, like Nacho Libre. But it’s about whatever the team needs. I just want to win. I know he wants to win, and I know everyone here wants to win. Sometimes you just have to wait, and it comes with it.”
The goal, according to Brice, is to push one another and compete as hard as they can, but at the same time show their teammates they also have each other’s back and they will do whatever it takes to help the program be successful.
“We tell each other every day before we go to practice and meetings … things might get tedious,” Brice said. “It is easy for other players to kind of get tired and nonchalant, but we have to keep each other going and obviously get the team going.
“Maybe we don’t want to go in this time and workout, but everyone is looking to us to be a leader and this is kind of what the quarterback does, and you have to do that.”