Clemson backup QB competition heating up

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said he is confident in his backup quarterbacks, but should the Tigers actually need to use one in 2013 – gasp – Swinney isn’t quite sure who would be next in line.

“As far as somebody separating this spring, I don’t know that that will happen, but I’m sure by the time we get ready to crank it up and play the Bulldogs, we’ll know who’s going in as the No. 2 guy and who’s No. 3,” Swinney said. “Hopefully this next year we’ll have maybe an opportunity to play more than one guy a little bit more often.”

With this being Tajh Boyd’s final season, a little experience could go a long way in 2014. Cole Stoudt will enter the spring as No. 2, but there will be an open competition to see if Chad Kelly can push Stoudt for the backup job. Stoudt, a junior who played in eight games last year, is the only other quarterback with any collegiate game experience. Last year he completed 27 of 39 passes for 212 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.

“Cole right now is clearly our No. 2 guy, but I think it’s going to be an interesting battle,” Swinney said on Tuesday. “Cole Stoudt is a heck of a player, and has performed well for us, has helped us win games. He’s the only other guy with any experience and really just a quiet guy. He doesn’t get the credit he deserves, but he’s been a proven part of our success the last couple of years. Every day, just having the confidence we’ve got a guy like him ready to go in there for Tajh if needed, but Chad Kelly, coming off a redshirt year, a guy that turned some heads in fall camp, I don’t think there’s any question that’s going to be a fun competition. That’s the way it should be.”

Kelly, who was rated the No. 4 quarterback in his class by ESPN.com, will be a redshirt freshman. He and Stoudt have already had a little competition going. Around this time last year, Kelly, the nephew of Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, made it clear he was there to play, not watch.

This spring will be the time to prove it.

“I don’t have any doubt those two are going to compete their tails off this spring in trying to win that second-team spot, and hopefully competing with Tajh,” Swinney said. “Tajh is clearly our starter and has earned that, but when you see guys working hard and competing, it will make you better. They’re all competitive. I think it’s a good situation.”