The Clemson Tigers won their first national championship since 1981 this past season, but Dabo Swinney has an important question to answer heading into the 2017 season: Who should he start at quarterback?
Better yet, should he go with a guy already on the roster, or should he go with Hunter Johnson, a five-star prospect out of Brownsburg, Indiana?
“He’s considered to be on of the top quarterbacks in the country,” orangeandwhite.com Clemson football reporter Dan Hope said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “And as we get ready to start spring practice in a couple of weeks, of course the biggest question for Clemson is who’s going to replace Deshaun Watson. This is a guy who’s going to have a chance to compete for that job right away. He’s already on campus as a mid-year enrollee, and he’s probably going to be the most talented guy on the roster right away. So very important guy, a guy who could be the quarterback of the future at Clemson and a guy who could be very important this upcoming season.”
Ultimately, Hope believes Johnson will start Clemson’s opener against Kent State on Sept. 2.
“I think it’s going to be between him and Zerrick Cooper,” Hope said. “Kelly Bryant is going to start the spring as the starter because he’s the only guy on the roster with any experience, but I just don’t think he’s shown the throwing ability. I just don’t think he’s a guy who’s going to be able to pass the ball well enough to keep that starting job.”
Cooper, meanwhile, is a redshirt freshman, so he has been in the system for one year.
“Maybe that gives him an advantage,” Hope said, “but I think the guy who’s the best talent is ultimately going to win the job – and I think that’s going to be Hunter Johnson.”