December 13, 2018

Season Projection: Backup QBs, Cain, McCloud and more

Editor’s Note: The 7th in a series with where we project the 2015 stats for skill players.

Nick Schuessler
Last week I was asked about the backup quarterback situation at Clemson, which every Clemson fan not-related to Nick Schuessler hopes is an irrelevant question.  My answer:  We don’t know, because we haven’t seen Nick Schuessler on the field in a meaningful situation.

Practice means little, mop up duty less and the spring game perhaps even less than that.  Tajh Boyd looked shaky in the 2011 spring game and then went about rewriting the Clemson record books that fall.  Cole Stoudt looked sharp in relief duty of Boyd for three years when there was no pressure and then struggled when the bright lights were on.

In a perfect world, where Deshaun Watson makes it through the season healthy, Schuessler sees similar time to what Stoudt did as a freshman in 2011 – about 100 snaps – and that he’ll be inserted into blowout games earlier than Stoudt was during his time as a backup.

If Watson goes down, all bets are off, but as of now I see Schuessler as an unknown in the #2 role.

2015 Projection: 50.0 Comp. % /10 YPG (120)/2 TD/2 INT

Tucker Israel

Clemson quarterback Tucker Israel (10) participates in the team's first spring practice.

Clemson quarterback Tucker Israel (10) participates in the team’s first spring practice.

Preferably both Israel and Kelly Bryant redshirt, barring an injury that necessitates one of them becoming #2.  But, if redshirt Clemson would be in much a similar situation next season at backup quarterback.

That begs the question: If one of these two outperforms Schuessler should he be given the snaps assigned to Schuessler above?

That’s fun to talk about in July, but hasn’t been the way this staff has operated in the past. Schuessler has bided his time, taken his lumps and, barring anything unusual, will be #2.

I’ll flip a coin and say Israel avoids a redshirt, but plays sparingly and 92.4% of Clemson fans will call it a wasted year.

2015 Projection: 41.7 Comp. % /3 YPG (40)/0 TD/1 INT



Kelly Bryant
In a coin flip I think Bryant gains a year of seasoning by redshirting

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney walks past Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant (2) during the team's first spring practice.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney walks past Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant (2) during the team’s first spring practice.

2015 Projection: Redshirt

Deon Cain
The Clemson masses believe Deon Cain is going to explode on the scene similar to Sammy Watkins in 2011, but this is a different team with an entirely different level of depth and experience at wide receiver.

I think Cain’s numbers will be closer to Mike William’s freshman numbers.

2015 Projection: 21 YPG(250)/2 TD/12.5 YPC

Ray Ray McCloud
Where oh where might Ray Ray play?  5,700 career rushing yards on a 5’10, 175 pound frame has me wondering.

Perhaps eventually he fits in the slot behind Peake or maybe Tony Elliott gets creative and finds a way to get McCloud involved because as we’ve discussed ad nauseum 5 Star players don’t come to redshirt and he’s not much smaller than Artavis Scott who had a pretty good freshman season.

While McCloud will have a few receptions, his biggest contribution may be returning kicks/punts, an area where Clemson has needed a boost for a while.

2015 Projection: 9 YPG (110)/2 TD12.2 YPC

Shadell Bell
Deep and talented receiving corps, plus incoming freshmen Cain and McCloud = Redshirt.

2015 Projection: Redshirt

Denzel Johnson
The lowest ranked of any of the wide receiver recruits Johnson is headed for a redshirt season.

2015 Projection: Redshirt

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