Clemson Football’s 10 Most Valuable Players in 2014

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Dec 29, 2014; Orlando, FL, USA; Clemson Tigers quarterback Cole Stoudt (18) is awarded the MVP of the game after the 2014 Russell Athletic Bowl at Florida Citrus Bowl. Clemson Tigers defeated the Oklahoma Sooners 40-6. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson Football’s 10 Most Valuable Players in 2014

The Clemson football team’s mantra in 2014, #WeTooDeep, could not have been much more accurate.

This year’s was simply loaded with talent, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.

With that in mind, narrowing the Clemson football roster down to 10 most valuable players was a very difficult task. The Tigers received important contributions from so many players, many of whom could have easily made the cut here. So before getting into Rubbing the Rock‘s official picks, here are some honorable mentions:

  • RB Wayne Gallman
  • OL David Beasley
  • CB Mackensie Alexander
  • S Robert Smith

And now, starting with No. 10 on our list:

I’ll be honest, prior to the Russell Athletic Bowl, Cole Stoudt would not have been included in this list.

Stoudt’s numbers for the season don’t exactly scream MVP. In fact, it would take some gall to use that term even in a hushed tone, with only Stoudt’s stats in mind.

But with all the attention Deshaun Watson’s injuries received this year, it’s hardly ever mentioned how Stoudt was playing through pain for most of the season. According to the Post & Courier, Stoudt suffered a Grade II separation in his left shoulder in early October and had to take injections to kill pain before every game since then.

And when Stoudt entered the game against the Louisville Cardinals in relief of Watson, Stoudt had not taken a snap in practice all week, because of that aforementioned injury.

Now, after Stoudt’s stellar performance in the Russell Athletic Bowl, it’s almost hard not to wonder about what might have been, if he had been healthy this season. Perhaps the quarterback we saw against Oklahoma was a more experienced, battle-tested version of the guy who won the starting job back in training camp.

"“The past few weeks of rest on it has been big,” Stoudt said leading up to the Russell Athletic Bowl (via The Post & Courier). “It’s feeling great right now, but [injuries] are the name of the game. You just have to play through them.”"

And play through them he did. After three years of waiting for his opportunity, it was clear that he was willing to make sacrifices for the good of the team.  But those sacrifices should not be taken for granted.

Next: Clemson Football's MVPs: No. 9