Calm, mature and focused, Cole Stoudt asserting himself in backup QB role

Dabo Swinney: 'He wants to beat Tajh out, and that's the kind of mentality you want guys to have when they show up at practice'

Clemson quarterback Cole Stoudt talks with Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd late in the fourth quarter.

Photo by Nathan Gray

Clemson quarterback Cole Stoudt talks with Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd late in the fourth quarter.

Reigning ACC player of the year Tajh Boyd and redshirt freshman Chad Kelly are in California this week, spending part of their spring break working with quarterback guru George Whitworth at his camp at San Diego.

Meanwhile, rising junior Cole Stoudt - Boyd's backup for the past two seasons - is coming off what Dabo Swinney describes as his best five practices since he's been at Clemson.

The trio gives Swinney and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Chad Morris plenty of reason for confidence as the Tigers head into the final two-thirds of spring practice.

"There's a real calmness and maturity to Cole that I like," said Swinney. "They've all been good, but if I had to single one out, it would be Cole. He's been very impressive the first five days...

"He's looking like a guy who wants to assert himself and compete. He wants to beat Tajh out, and that's the kind of mentality you want guys to have when they show up at practice."

The 6-4, 205-pound Stoudt won the Tigers' backup job two years ago in competition with fellow first-year freshman Tony McNeal, and has performed well in limited playing the past two seasons. As a freshman, he played in six games and completed 12 of 21 passes for 115 yards. Last fall, he played in eight games and completed 27 of 39 passes for 212 yards and three touchdowns.

During his high school career at Dublin Coffman High in Ohio, Stoudt - whose dad, Cliff, played quarterback in the NFL from 1977-89 - set school records with 4,393 yards passing and 52 touchdowns. He was ranked as one of the nation's top 25 quarterback signees by both Rivals and 247Sports.

So far this spring, Swinney said Stoudt is performing "like a guy who's played."

"It's been his consistency, his fundamentals and his knowledge," Swinney said. "He's been more engaged and looks more like a leader. He shows a real understanding. He's been through this and has been in the system."

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Comments » 4

TigerMarine writes:

Hmmmm call it a gut feeling but I think I'd still take Kelly if the stuff hits the fan !

TigerFan95 writes:

With our OL the kid needs to put some meat on him if he expects to make it at Clemson. He wouldn't last long taking the beatings the way Boyd did against FSU, SC and LSU last year.

SoCalTiger writes:

I think you're right that he needs to bulk up. Being lighter may help him get free from the backfield if he has to scramble, but not so much if he has to take the hits that Boyd endured. Not meant as a criticism. He played well when he played.

Bigboots writes:

Chad Kelly needs to step up and earn some playing time.
I dont care if Stoudt is the spring ball backup. Kelly is the next starter.

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