Chase Brice is a perfect example of how the NCAA transfer portal is meant to be utilized.
Brice stayed at Clemson for three seasons after signing with the Tigers in 2017, bided his time as Trevor Lawrence’s backup while earning his college degree, and now has found a better opportunity elsewhere in the ACC.
On Monday, Duke announced that Brice has signed a financial aid agreement to attend the institution and join the Blue Devil football program. He is expected to enroll in July after graduating from Clemson with a degree in parks, recreation and tourism management, and will have two seasons of eligibility remaining beginning with the 2020 campaign.
“I love Chase,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said on Wednesday. “He’s been amazing, and to me, as I’ve said many times, graduation should create opportunities and options for young people. It’s just the way it is. He’s put the work in, and he came to Clemson, he achieved what he came here to do and the fact that he’s gotten his degree has created some other opportunities, like another senior moving on, whether they’re moving on to a job or they’re moving on to the NFL.
“And what he did on the field here has also created opportunity for himself. It’s not like he’s some slug – this guy can play. I think he’s a pro, personally. I think he’s a guy that’s going to really have a great shot to play at the next level. I think we had the two best quarterbacks in the ACC on the same team last year. It’s what I think. I think he’s that good.”
Brice completed 60 percent of his passes for 1,023 yards and nine touchdowns with four interceptions over 384 career snaps in 25 games at Clemson. The former four-star prospect from Grayson High School in Loganville, Ga., also rushed for 187 yards and a touchdown on 30 career carries.
Of course, Brice is beloved by Tiger fans for his heroics against Syracuse on September 29, 2018, when he entered in relief of an injured Lawrence and led a come-from-behind, 27-23 victory to preserve what would become Clemson’s perfect 15-0 national championship campaign.
Although Brice never started a game at Clemson, he took a starter’s mentality into each game that he suited up for with the Tigers.
“I’m going to tell you, Chase, he prepared every single week as if he was the starter and he was into every play,” Swinney said. “Chase and I would talk a lot during games, and he was very in tune to the game, very in tune to Trevor, making suggestions, telling me what he sees. He was almost like a coach, but he was very in tune to what’s going on. And such a selfless young man. So committed to his role and so prepared to go win the game. I think he probably played the most snaps of any backup in the country where the starter didn’t get hurt. So, he’s got a lot of tape – a lot of tape – and a lot of opportunity to play and develop. That was important to me, for him to have that opportunity because he deserved it.”
After Clemson’s 2019 season ended with a loss to LSU in the national title game on Jan. 13, Swinney and Brice spent a lot of time talking about his options and making sure that wherever he went, it was the right situation and fit.
But before those conversations, Brice never said a word about the possibility of transferring from Clemson.
“We never even talked about it,” Swinney said. “I assumed maybe it would be something that he would consider, but he wouldn’t even entertain the conversation, ever. He was just focused on what he was doing and this team and being a great teammate and being ready for his team.”
Swinney also spoke with Duke head coach David Cutcliffe about Brice and knows he will be in good hands with Cutcliffe, who has a stellar reputation for developing NFL quarterbacks such as Peyton Manning, Eli Manning and most recently Daniel Jones.
“I’m very, very happy that it worked out for him to go to Duke,” Swinney said. “I called David. We had a great conversation. Coach Cut’s one of the best people I know. He’s one of the top two or three people that I would call for anything. So, just a ton of respect for him, and obviously he’s got a great background with quarterbacks. So, I think it’s a good fit. He’s got a couple of high school teammates up there, so I think it’s a great opportunity for Chase, and super excited for him.”
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