Clemson Tigers football: Moving on from Deshaun Watson

The question on everyone’s mind is what will the Clemson Tigers do for an encore after winning the national championship?

There’s no need to pinch yourself. You weren’t dreaming. The Clemson Tigers walked into Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida and handed the Alabama Crimson Tide their first loss since September 9th, 2015. They’re now the kings of college football and will look to defend their crown in 2017.

Unfortunately, the Tigers will have to do so without Deshaun Watson. As college football’s “Michael Jordan” (according to Dabo Swinney) now turns his attention to the green pastures of the NFL, the champs are forced to re-focus. They’ll no doubt employ the “All In” mentality again in 2017, but they’ll do so with uncertainty at the quarterback position.

Clemson boasts the 16th-best recruiting class per 247Sports.com. Their 14 signings include what we’d expect. There are a couple of linemen, a couple of wide receivers and three four-star defensive ends. There’s also a pro-style quarterback by the name of Chase Brice. 247Sports.com sees him as a four-star prospect.

Brice joins sophomore quarterbacks James Barnes, Tucker Israel and Kelly Bryant. Nick Schuessler will be there as well. He’s a 6-foot-4 senior who is 200 pounds, and he figures to walk into the Tigers’ next spring game as the quarterback they’ll place on top of their depth chart. For his career, Schuessler’s thrown for 564 yards. That includes the 2016 season where he completed 23 passes on 33 attempts, good for just under a 70 percent completion percentage. Schuessler also saw three of those passes find their way into the end zone. He threw no interceptions and was sacked twice.

Stranger things have happened, but Brice and company will have a lot of work to do if they’re going to pass Schuessler and snatch the starting spot from him. One things certain. Regardless of what happens in the Clemson locker room, whoever takes over will have big shoes to fill. The Tigers faithful has been spoiled by Watson, and, even before that, by Tajh Boyd.

We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

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