Clemson suffered a major blow at quarterback during Saturday’s Orange & White Game at Death Valley.
In the game’s final minutes, backup quarterback Taisun Phommachanh possibly tore his Achilles heel while leading the White team on a game-winning drive in the White’s 14-13 victory.
Phommachanh could miss up to six months if indeed he did tear his Achilles as head coach Dabo Swinney fears. If that is the case, the ramifications for the Tigers at quarterback can be huge, especially if starting quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei were to suffer an injury that could keep him out for any length of time.
“We just stay in the moment,” Swinney said. “Again, two years ago, we handed out national championship rings out here and we were very, very thin on that team from a quarterback standpoint. Very thin.”
Other than Uiagalelei, the only healthy quarterback on Clemson’s current roster is walk-on Hunter Helms, who was 11-for-16 for 88 yards in the Spring Game. Swinney was asked does Phommachanh’s injury force him to dive into the transfer portal and look for a suitable replacement for a backup quarterback.
“You got what you got. It is no different than anybody else out there. You just try to put your guys in position to be successful,” the Clemson coach said. “You can’t sit around and pout about what you don’t have.”
Clemson does have two scholarship quarterbacks coming in this fall, in four-star signee Bubba Chandler and three-star prospect Will Taylor. But Chandler is considered a Major League Baseball prospect in June’s MLB Draft and there is a chance he might not ever step foot on the Clemson campus. He was also recruited to play baseball for the Tigers if he does come to Clemson.
Taylor was not highly recruited, but the Clemson coaches really like him and his ability to lead. He led Dutch Fork High School in Columbia to a state championship last fall.
Taylor shined at quarterback for Dutch Fork as a senior in 2020, throwing for 2,237 yards and 21 touchdowns with just four interceptions, while rushing for 448 yards and 11 touchdowns. He led his team to the 5A state title with a 28-6 win over T.L. Hanna.
Taylor played his first three years of high school at Ben Lippen, and as a junior in 2019, he passed for 1,647 yards and rushed 1,549 more.
Like Chandler, Taylor is also committed to play for Clemson’s baseball program as well.
“It is a week-to-week deal. You do the best you can. Whatever it is we have to do to win, that is what we try to do,” Swinney said. “We load up and try to win the next one. That is all we can do. We are who we are.”
Phommachanh finished the Spring Game 14-of-25 for 163 yards, including 9-for-11 for 123 yards in the fourth quarter, including a 16-yard touchdown pass to Joseph Ngata.
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