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2016 Clemson Football Quarterback Participation

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NCAA Football: Fiesta Bowl-Ohio State vs Clemson Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

As is tradition at STS, we are once again taking a look at the participation numbers for each player at Clemson during the 2016 season. While number of games played is a nice top level number, looking at snap counts provides a much better idea of how much experience a player is getting. It is also a good way of determining if a player should have redshirted or not. Ideally a player should get at least 100 snaps in a season as a freshman, otherwise a redshirt would have been a better idea barring issues with depth. Also a note that all snap counts are through the Ohio State game, totals for the Alabama game have not been published by Clemson.

To kick off the series we are taking a look at the QBs. Shocking absolutely no one, the QB position doesn’t spread the love around a lot. Deshaun Watson took pretty much all of the snaps. When he was removed early because Clemson was dominating, or in the case of Syracuse because of injury concern, Nick Schuessler was the primary backup. The good doctor got nearly 100 snaps and looked competent in relief.

QB Snaps

Player Position Year Auburn Troy SC State Georgia Tech Louisville Boston College NC State FSU Syracuse Pittsburgh Wake Forest South Carolina Virginia Tech Ohio State Totals
Player Position Year Auburn Troy SC State Georgia Tech Louisville Boston College NC State FSU Syracuse Pittsburgh Wake Forest South Carolina Virginia Tech Ohio State Totals
Deshaun Watson QB Junior 81 89 28 82 66 53 94 86 40 98 72 71 80 76 1016
Nick Schuessler QB R Graduate 0 0 27 0 0 6 0 0 32 0 5 16 0 10 96
Kelly Bryant QB Sophomore 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 12 0 0 4 0 0 20
Tucker Israel QB R Freshman 0 0 7 0 0 0 0 0 5 0 0 0 0 0 12
James Barnes QB R Freshman 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 2 6

But Schuessler has left Clemson so our real interest in the two players that came on after him. Kelly Bryant and Tucker Israel were the two guys for the future, though neither did a whole lot in 2016. Bryant got nearly 40 snaps and Israel didn’t even clear 20. With the QB competition underway in spring practice it is fair to say both of these guys don’t get a whole lot of game experience in their favor.

In comparison to last year, the snap breakdowns are pretty similar. The big change for 2017 is obviously the departure of our top 2 QBs. Surprising no one it is a huge change, and there isn’t a wealth of experience on the roster to definitively say that we have The Guy.

Since there isn’t a lot to talk about I wanted to look at an overall class breakdown for the season. The table below is the total snaps per class as well as the average snaps per player and per game. As you can see a large portion of the snaps from this season came from true juniors and from seniors.

Class Snap Totals

Class Totals Total Players Snaps Per Player Per Game
Class Totals Total Players Snaps Per Player Per Game
Freshman 2234 10 223 16
Redshirt Freshman 1231 18 68 5
Sophomore 5000 14 357 26
Redshirt Sophomore 3681 13 283 20
Junior 1618 2 809 58
Redshirt Junior 4349 16 272 19
Senior 5043 9 560 40
Graduate 111 2 56 4

Honestly I’m not sure what to feel about this. It isn’t a huge surprise that juniors and seniors had such a high percentage of the snaps. Players like Mike Williams, Wayne Gallman, Deshaun Watson, and Ben Boulware were all key pieces to the team and played positions where they could easily take a majority of snaps. And traditionally juniors and seniors are going to get the majority of playing time on any team.

But the worry is what happens next year. Who steps up, especially when most of those junior snaps are departing this year. Around half of the team’s snaps on a per game basis are leaving and it isn’t clear who will step up to replace them, both in terms of quantity and quality. While some positions aren’t as bad off as last year, others, especially on offense, are worse.