As in previous years we are taking a look at the snap counts of each position for Clemson football. Rather than starts, number of snaps is a good indicator of true experience. All of the numbers used in this are through the Orange Bowl, they do not include the national championship game. These snap totals also only include snaps on offense or defense, special teams participation is not counted. Players in bold will not be returning for 2016.
Quarterback is always a bit of a dull position here. Even in seasons when an injury occurs, coaches like to stick with a single quarterback. The old adage of having 2 QBs means you have none always seems to hold true. This can make the snap counts seem useless, but there is always something to look at. For Clemson the backup snaps give us some insight into what the coaches are thinking as Clemson prepares for life without Deshaun Watson in 2017.
|Player||Year||Position||Wofford||App State||Louisville||Notre Dame||Georgia Tech||Boston College||Miami||NC State||FSU||Syracuse||Wake||South Carolina||UNC||Oklahoma||Total Snaps|
|Nick Schuessler||R Junior||QB||29||13||0||0||13||3||11||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||69|
To the surprise of no one, Watson got the majority of snaps. Always a good sign because it means he was healthy and performing. But the backups provide an interesting look. In our season preview we mentioned that Kelly Bryant or Tucker Israel would be the "future" for Clemson. We saw that this year as Kelly Bryant took more and more of the snaps after Watson was brought out of the game.
Remember when fans were clamoring for Nick Schuessler after Cole Stoudt's poor play in 2014? I think everyone understood why the good doctor wasn't considered even when Stoudt was throwing multiple pick 6's. He's useful for some spot play on occasion, but Schuessler just doesn't have the tools to be the starting QB at Clemson. There's a reason Bryant continued to get more snaps as the season went on even though he didn't have a complete grasp of the offense and is extremely raw as a passer. Schuessler will provide some more depth, but with Israel and Bryant healthy I'm not even sure if he will get any snaps until senior day this year.
Even though Bryant seems to be the guy going forward, he may not play much of a part at Clemson. This fall Zerrick Cooper arrives on campus and with a redshirt year he will be competing with Bryant and possibly Israel for the starting job next spring. Oh and we also have the two best QBs in the class of 2017 currently committed in Chase Brice and Hunter Johnson. Barring some impressive improvement it is hard to see Bryant getting much time. The same goes for Israel, though he may have benefited from redshirting the 2015 season. Israel was always the more game ready of the two though Bryant has better physical tools. Don't be surprised if one of the two transfers after the 2016 season, or even both depending on how things go with the incoming recruits.