Clemson Football: Top 3 position battles to watch

Clemson Basketball (usable)The loss of impact players including Tajh Boyd, Sammy Watkins, Martavis Bryant, and Rod Hall has left Clemson Football fans somewhat unsure of the future of the program. However, after the annual Orange and White game on Saturday, fans can see that Clemson Football has a promising future.

One of the most anticipated position battles of the ACC for the upcoming season is the battle of the quarterbacks. Senior Cole Stoudt, redshirt sophomore Chad Kelly, and freshman Deshaun Watson were all being very closely watched in the weeks leading up to the game.

During a scrimmage on the Monday before the Orange and White game, Watson broke his collarbone and was forced to sit out the game on Saturday. As a result, Cole Stoudt led the White Team and Chad Kelly led the Orange Team in the completion of spring practice.

During the game, Stoudt completed 15-23 passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns for the White Team. Kelly completed 10-18 passes for 113 yards for the Orange Team. Nick Schuessler played back up for both teams. He completed 7-17 passes for 67 yards for the Orange Team and 3-3 for 26 yards for the White Team.

“Cole Stoudt had the best day of the quarterbacks. He found his receivers and made the right calls,” said head coach Dabo Swinney.

Kelly was pulled from the game for the second half after throwing two interceptions into double coverage in the first half. At the end of the first half, Kelly engaged in a heated disagreement with the coaching staff about particular plays that were called.

“Just coach’s decision. Just didn’t like how he responded to Coach Morris and Coach Scott, so they came to me with their decision and I said yes,” Swinney said after the game.

Two other top position battles to watch for the Tigers going into the summer are wide receiver and running back. The loss of Watkins, Hall, and Bryant opened a lot of  playing time for the very notable incoming recruiting class, where running back and wide receivers abound. One returning wide receiver to watch is Adam Humphries. While he did not perform as well as expected in the Orange and White game at 3-39 receptions, last season Humphries stepped up when necessary as the punt returner and a wide receiver in place of Watkins and Bryant. Freshman and expected red shirt Wayne Gallman was the most productive player on the Orange Team’s offense. He was 9-61 rushing and 2-28 receiving.

For the White Team, senior D.J. Howard had nine rushes for 59 yards, one resulting in a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Expected red shirt freshman running back C.J. Davidson also added 5-42 rushing. Other touchdowns for the White Team belonged to sophomores Jordan Leggett, a tight end who led all receivers with seven catches for 59 yards, and Mike Williams, a wide receiver who caught a 28-yard pass heading toward the end zone.

On Monday afternoon, the Clemson Athletic Department released a statement that Chad Kelly has been dismissed from the football team for misconduct. Additional information has not been released yet.