When he arrived on the Clemson campus in January of 2019, Taisun Phommachanh was a little overwhelmed. The Bridgeport, Conn., native came from a private high school where the did not play 11-man football.
Though a four-star prospect with a strong arm and ton of ability, Phommachanh was raw to say the very least.
“Taisun, he is one of those guys, that when he came in last year, I mean, he was overwhelmed,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said. “Day One, he was throwing dirt balls. You could just tell it was moving fast.”
However, Phommachanh worked his tail off to get better. He eventually played in three games last year before being declared as a redshirt, completing 6-of-12 passes for 56 yards with no touchdown and one interception. He also ran the ball 12 times for 56 yards.
Now that Chase Brice has moved on to Duke, Phommachanh knows there is an opportunity to put himself in position to be the Tigers’ backup quarterback behind All-ACC quarterback Trevor Lawrence. He spent the nine days Clemson was able to practice this spring fighting off true freshman D.J. Uiagalelei, who enrolled in January.
Uiagalelei was the No. 1 quarterback and No. 2 overall prospect in the nation coming out of high school this past season. However, Swinney said last Friday that Phommachanh would be the Tigers’ No. 2 quarterback if the season was to start today.
“And he has worked his tail off. He is very smooth and is very fluid,” the Clemson coach said. “He is very knowledgeable. You can tell the game has slowed down. I thought he had a very excellent nine days.”
Swinney said Phommachanh is never going to look like Lawrence or Uiagalelei when throwing the football, but he does other things very well that show the coaching staff he is going to be a very good quarterback.
“He has a little bit of a different technique. But he is very accurate, and he has big-time arm strength and talent,” Swinney said. “He just looks different. He had a very good spring.”
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