There are three viable candidates to be Deshaun Watson's back up come this fall: redshirt junior Nick Schuessler along with true freshmen Tucker Israel and Kelly Bryant. All three have displayed talent over their respective football careers and it is clear that Clemson will be in good hands, no matter who wins the back up position. One thing is for certain however, after last year's injuries and offensive struggles, everyone will be watching closely to see what kind of depth Clemson can develop behind Watson. Even if Watson stays healthy, hopefully the offense will be explosive enough to create "garbage time" for the backup to get a fair amount of snaps.
Let's take a look at Clemson's potential candidates for back up quarterback next season.
Nick Schuessler is, as of this moment, the leader for the back up position.
"I can't say enough good things about Nick Schuessler. This is one of those practices that you wish that everybody got to see," Swinney said via Tigernet. "It was pretty impressive. He has had six outstanding days of football practice. It's great to see the light come on for guys. He has done an outstanding job of leading. He's made some big time throws. Just playing with a sense of urgency that I have not seen from Nick Schuessler since he's been here. He's playing with a confidence that I have not seen since he's been here. As a result of that, he's playing faster and more decisive and accurate."
Schuessler will have his chance to cement his name at the two-deep position with his work ethic. Schuessler seems to be playing with a chip on his shoulder and will only improve as he gets more experience during spring practice. It seems he has taken strides since last year when the staff opted to go with Stoudt despite a torn AC joint over Schuessler.
Tucker Israel and Kelly Bryant do, however, present a great amount of talent and it would not be surprising if one of them were to overtake the spot before the end of fall camp. One thing to keep in mind is that neither has played a college snap and they're are still learning the offense. With that being said, both freshmen will look more polished come fall after spring practice and a strong summer full of workouts. Both have different skill sets that could be used within the Tiger offense and will use those talents to try and challenge Schuessler as spring practice progresses and the fall gets here.
Firstly, Tucker Israel has a cannon for an arm. He has some of the greatest pocket presence coming out of high school in the nation. He put up video game like numbers his senior year and shattered all kinds of records with exceptional passing performances.
Kelly Bryant, the local product out of Piedmont, South Carolina, has a skill set that will be instrumental in running the Clemson offense. He has the dual-threat ability to step back in the pocket and deliver perfect passes or make a play with his legs to keep a drive alive. This talent will be critical because opposing defenses will have to prepare for both his legs and his arms and should something happen to Watson, the offense would not have to revise their game-plan as much with Bryant at the helm.
What do you think? Who will back up Deshaun Watson this season when it's all said and done?