Keen Competition: Chad Kelly 'battling hard' to win backup QB spot

Dabo Swinney says he'll play first-year freshman as much as possible if he beats out Cole Stoudt, Morgan Roberts

Clemson quarterback Chad Kelly takes a snap during practice August 9.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Clemson quarterback Chad Kelly takes a snap during practice August 9.

When he committed to Clemson, Chad Kelly was promised a chance to compete.

And while ‘Plan A’ may still be for the Tigers’ star freshman signee to invest a season as a redshirt, Kelly has played his way solidly into the thick of the battle for Clemson’s No. 2 quarterback position behind Tajh Boyd.

He’s not alone.

Morgan Roberts, who accepted his initial scholarship offer as a likely ‘grayshirt,’ turned heads during spring practice after enrolling in January, and he continues to battle for early playing time, as well.

Sophomore Cole Stoudt, who performed capably in a limited role as Boyd’s backup last fall, continues to be the man to beat. After getting off to a slow start during spring drills, he came on strong at the end and has picked up where he left off during preseason camp.

Dabo Swinney says the battle will continue for at least the next 10 days, and that he hopes to make a decision on Kelly by the time the Tigers begin preparing their game plan for Auburn.

It appears unlikely that Kelly would play as a number No. 3 quarterback, but if he wins the No. 2 job, Swinney said the coaches will try to get him on the field as much as possible, including some ‘special packages.’

“If he wins the backup job, we’ve got to play him,” Swinney said on Monday. “But he’s got to win the job. He’s competing hard.”

In the Tigers’ initial scrimmage on Saturday, Stoudt completed three of six passes for 40 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. Kelly was 4-of-7 for 28 yards, with an interception; and Roberts was 3-of-3 for 56 yards and a touchdown.

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