Clemson QB Recruiting: Chad Kelly Implications and Kelly Bryant

Chad Kelly goes down but another Kelly rises up - Tyler Smith

Thought this might be a good time to add in a nice little recruiting nugget and to fully flesh out our QB recruiting situation for the 2015 year. For the record Clemson is still only going to take 2 QBs.

UPDATE***This was in the queue to be posted today but Bryant just had to go ahead and commit and spoil my party.

The direct impact of Chad Kelly's expulsion from the team is that Deshaun Watson will not redshirt this year. He must be ready to play next year without anyone else to push him. Nick Schuessler can run the ball and might develop into a passer in time but is only an emergency option that you don't want to see in the game right now. Watson definitely needs to put on an additional 10-20 pounds to be ready for the rigors of fall camp. I doubt we see much live hitting in practice now, certainly not to the extent of this Spring. Stoudt is the starter now and although Watson will get every opportunity to push him in the fall, it seems safe to say that Stoudt will be the starter barring something dramatic happening like Watson transforming into Cam Newton Jr. in the offseason or Cole screwing up (arrested or something), which are not happening.

The next major implication of the Kelly situation is very positive. I am hearing that we are now well positioned with Kelly Bryant (6'4 205). Here is my take on the situation: Bryant is from nearby Wren High School and deep down he loves Clemson. He started out the year as nothing more than an awesome athlete taking snaps but he has developed into a QB prospect--that is certain. That familiarity and affinity for Clemson will only go so far though and before this change he had begun to move in a different direction. As a QB recruit he will make a pragmatic decision based up depth charts and his perception of being able to get on the field (as is the case with most major QB recruits--they are just more careful with depth charts). He really likes Clemson but at the end of the day this will be a business decision.

Deshaun Watson has gravitas. Recruits know who he is, especially in GA and even in South Carolina and nearby states. His presence scares a lot of recruits (I know people want to say, QB's get hurt all the time or man up and just trust your talent but this is about a kids future for parents and surrounding entourages and QB's don't like playing second fiddle). Bryant was turning away from Clemson because Watson was possibly going to redshirt but because that is no longer an option Clemson had moved back up the list.

Our main competition is probably still Florida but they have super recruit from last year Will Grier redshirting this year, which hurts there chances. Tennessee is the other school to look out for if they decide to move on Bryant with his interest in Clemson rising. Tennessee also has a logjam at QB and Bryant is not as high on their pecking order but that could change and we know that staff can be very persuasive. NC State was an early offer and have hung around. I expect Bryant to make a decision before the end of the summer and perhaps much much sooner--like within the month. He might visit Clemson this week which would be just another good sign for the Tigers (although I don't think we need many more with the way things are trending).

So what do you get with a QB like Kelly Bryant? He would be the best runner on Clemson's campus (probably better than Kelly was). He is raw but as I said is improving immensely. At Wren last year he didn't have much of an offensive line and he was brand new to the offense. At the beginning of the year I am told it was basically a one read--throw it to this guy type of deal but by the end of the year he had developed into a real QB--actually going through some reads and progressions. He is a smart player and a hard worker, which is evident in the amount of work he put in during the season. He is working with different coaches and getting some outside mentoring so I really think he will improve dramatically during his senior year. He has a strong arm but right now short arms/slingshots a lot of his passes, which results in a lack of touch on his throws. The right teaching should improve his mechanics and raw talent.

What will Clemson do? Right now, as I said before, Clemson was in a first come first serve mode with the major remaining QB targets (remember QB's generally commit earlier than any other position) being Mesquite, TX Chase Virgil (6'1 170) and to a lesser extent Kennesaw, GA Lorenzo Nunez (6'2 190) and Boynton, FL Lamar Jackson (6'2 185). I was going to go into more detail on all of them but now there is no real need to. I know Morris really likes Virgil, especially with the Texas ties but Kelly is a physical specimen at 6'4 and is an excellent runner. The local product cannot be supplanted. Rivals has him rated as a 4*, 5.9 prospect, which is appropriate because there is still a degree of risk in taking a QB target as raw as Bryant but the ceiling is superstar high. Again, I don't throw this around lightly but based on my most recent information, I will be surprised if Kelly is not a Tiger and soon.

***Obviously with his commitment today the wheels had been set in motion after the Chad Kelly departure. I think you have to be excited about Bryant as a prospect. He will allow Clemson to continue to recruit QBs in 2016 (he won't scare people off like Watson but he has that kind of a ceiling. Still very raw but will get a chance to be tutored by the Chad while waiting in the wings during the Watson era. There could also be some ripples from this recruitment that are positive for Clemson. DE Michael Barnett and Kelly Bryant are good friends and it is thought that this will have some bearing on Barnett's ultimate decision (Clemson was already in good standing but Barnett is a bit all over the place, he likes a lot of schools--this should solidify Clemson in the top group).

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