Cole Stoudt Is Named Clemson's Starting QB, for Now
After three seasons of backing up Tajh Boyd, Stoudt has finally been named the starter.
But this didn’t necessarily happen the conventional way. Yes, there was a competition, but it was almost a process of elimination for coach Dabo Swinney.
It was a three man race with Stoudt, rising sophomore Chad Kelly and true freshman Deshaun Watson just a few weeks ago. However, Kelly was recently dismissed from the team for conduct detrimental to the program. A day after Kelly was suspended, Swinney named Stoudt the starter for the 2014 season.
"It should be pretty obvious that he won the job," Swinney told Fox Sports. "He's a great leader who is highly respected by his teammates. He never once complained. He was always ready when we needed him. He's earned it and he will be named the starter."
Swinney seems to want the “sure thing” at quarterback this season, someone who will take what the defense gives them.
"The thing I like about Cole is that he's very disciplined,” Swinney said. “He lives by the motto that, ‘You don't ever go broke by making a profit.’ If it's just a simple check down that the defense will give him, he will take it. He doesn’t force anything, he'll just keep moving the chains.”
But simply managing the game won’t be the future of Clemson football. The No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in the 2014 recruiting class (247sports) isn’t interested in redshirting this season, at least not just yet.
Watson enrolled early to participate this spring but suffered a slight crack in his collarbone during a scrimmage. It’s similar to the injury that Green Bay Packers' quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered last season. The good news is that Watson will not need surgery.
"This is a shame because he was having an outstanding spring," said Swinney, according to CBS Sports. "Fortunately this is not a serious injury. I hate that he will miss the spring game. I know a lot of people were anxious to see him make his debut in Death Valley. But he will be fine by the time summer workouts start again in May. He does not require surgery."
So with Watson back by summer workouts, this quarterback job could still be up for grabs. If Stoudt seems to waiver at all, Watson could begin to close on him quickly.
Yes it would be gutsy for Swinney to go with the true freshman over the senior, but then again Stoudt has very little game experience, whereas Watson could provide the high-risk/high-reward factor with his big play ability.
Don’t be surprised if this quarterback competition opens back up when summer comes around.