Clemson football: Lack of QB depth is being blown out of proportion

Clemson quarterback Hunter Helms(18) passes during football practice in Clemson, S.C. Friday, March 5, 2021.Clemson Spring Football Practice
Clemson quarterback Hunter Helms(18) passes during football practice in Clemson, S.C. Friday, March 5, 2021.Clemson Spring Football Practice /

There is a sentiment among many Clemson football fans that should starting quarterback DJ Uiagalelei get hurt, that the Tigers will be done and hopes of a national title will be flushed.

While injuries are something to consider in football, Clemson football fans need to stop thinking about the worst possible scenario that could play out in 2021. Instead, reflect on 2017 and what the Tigers were able to offer with a similar quarterback room.

After Deshaun Watson left for the NFL following the 2016 national title, there were many who believed that Clemson football would return to the not so glorious days of those under Tommy West and Tommy Bowden.

Instead, the roster was so talented that even a quarterback room filled with guys who had very little experience or talent were able to guide the Tigers to the 2017 College Football Playoff.

2021 Clemson football has more talent than 2017

The Clemson football fan base remembers the final record from 2017; 11-1 regular season, beating Miami for the ACC title and then losing to Alabama in the College Football Playoff.

However, what people fail to remember was how inexperienced in talent and depth the quarterback room was.

Kelly Bryant was named the starter, but they also had four-star quarterbacks Zerrick Cooper and Chase Brice, five-star Hunter Johnson, and three-star Tucker Israel. Johnson was the top quarterback coming out of high school that year.

The Tigers had zero experience at the most important position.

Most of the fan base remembers Kelly Bryant fondly because he was the first starting quarterback for Clemson football from the state of South Carolina in almost 20 years. However, the reality was he was average at best and simply didn’t need to lose games for Clemson that year – which he did against Alabama.

The roster of future first-round NF draft picks carried Bryant and Cooper the entire year. He is a player that would never get a scholarship offer now from Clemson, but he was serviceable in 2017, and even when he was injured the roster was elite enough to get them back to the College Football Playoffs.

That is exactly where the Tigers are for 2021.

If something should happen to Uiagalelei – Hunter Helms, Taisun Phommachanh or Will Taylor will be just fine, they will simply need to not lose games, they won’t be asked to go win them. The 2021 version of Clemson football is the most talented and will be the most dominant roster we have ever seen wear the orange and purple.

Uiagalelei is one of the best quarterbacks in the country and he makes Clemson football a national championship favorite but without him, the Tigers are still good enough to win the ACC and make their seventh straight College Football Playoff.

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