Monday Morning Quarterback
With Taisun Phommachanh out for the next four to six months as he recovers from an Achilles tendon tear, Clemson looks to find a replacement.
Will the Tigers go to the transfer portal to find a replacement for their backup quarterback position?
It is not likely.
Clemson has Hunter Helms already on campus and the coaches really like the way he competes. They think he has a chance to be someone they can count on, but as Swinney said after Saturday’s Orange & White Game, “He is still a developing guy.”
The Tigers will welcome three quarterbacks they signed as part of the 2021 class … Bubba Chandler, Will Taylor and Billy Wiles.
“We have three good young quarterbacks we will be adding into the mix. We will have five guys here and we will evaluate all summer long and see what we have to do to give ourselves the best chance to be successful,” Swinney said. “Hopefully, these guys will come in here and be ready to go to work and compete.”
However, due to being such an outstanding Major League Baseball prospect, there is a chance Chandler might not ever step foot on Clemson’s campus.
Taylor will come in as a quarterback, and will first get a chance to compete there, but the coaches really like his athletic ability and they think he can help the team at wide receiver, too.
“Bubba Chandler is a guy that we are super excited about. We have a lot of high hopes for him. We think he has a high level of potential,” Swinney said. “Will Taylor is a state champion quarterback and is a great athlete. He is coming in here this summer and then we got a young man named Billy Wiles who turned down some Division I offers to come and join us this summer as well.
“D.J. (Uiagalelei) has to have a great summer from a leadership standpoint and really help us develop these guys. A lot of times we can’t be out there with those guys during summer school, so we are counting on D.J. to help lead that way as well.”
But what if Chandler decides he is going the MLB route? What do the Tigers do then? Who might they get?
You would think there has to be one graduate quarterback in the transfer portal who would love to sign with Clemson, even if he is the backup. It is an opportunity to be a part of a team that has a legitimate shot at winning a national championship. Why wouldn’t they want to be a part of that, right?
Also, there is a pretty good chance the backup might be called on, too.
In 2018, of course, Chase Brice was called upon to guide the Tigers to a victory over Syracuse. It is considered one of the greatest comebacks in Clemson history, as he rallied the Tigers from 10 points down in the fourth quarter to get the win.
Clemson went on to win the national championship and became the first 15-0 team in the modern era of college football. If Clemson did not have Chase Brice that year, what would have happened?
Then there was last year, Uiagalelei was called into action after Trevor Lawrence tested positive for the coronavirus. Uiagalelei had two days to get ready for his first career start.
In doing so, he rallied the Tigers from an 18-point halftime deficit to beat Boston College, the greatest comeback in Death Valley history for a Clemson team. The next week, he threw for 439 yards at Notre Dame, the most passing yards ever thrown against the Irish.
As Swinney mentioned, the Tigers have been down this road before, but he feels he is in better shape right now, even with Phommachanh out, than he was in 2018, when Hunter Renfrow and Will Spiers were his emergency quarterbacks.
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