Deshaun Watson has the talent and tools, but Cole Stoudt’s experience appears to have helped him win the starting QB job at Clemson.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney told FoxSports.com on Tuesday that Stoudt has won the starting position, beating out Watson, an early enrollee from Gainesville, who is one of the top high school QBs in Georgia high school history.
“It should be pretty obvious that (Stoudt) won the job,” Swinney told the website. “He’s a great leader who is highly respected by his teammates. He never once complained. He was always ready when we needed him. He’s earned it and he will be named the starter.”
Stoudt, the son of former NFL QB Cliff Stoudt, backed up Tajh Boyd the past three years. He is 86 of 119 for 742 yards with eight TDs and one interception in 22 career games. Stoudt completed 79.9 percent of his attempts with five TDs and no interceptions last year.
“The thing I like about Cole is that he’s very disciplined,” Swinney told FoxSports.com. “He lives by the motto that, ‘You don’t ever go broke by making a profit.’ If it’s just a simple check down that the defense will give him, he will take it. He doesn’t force anything, he’ll just keep moving the chains.”
Watson, who missed the spring game on Saturday with a cracked clavicle, likely will back up Stoudt since Chad Kelly was dismissed from the team for detrimental conduct on Monday.
Kelly, the nephew of former Buffalo Bills QB Jim Kelly, played poorly in the spring game on Saturday and then jawed with coaches at halftime.
Kelly did not play well in the first half of the spring game Saturday — throwing two interceptions — but made matters worse after getting into a verbal altercation with coaches at halftime over a decision to punt on fourth-and-short.
He was shown the door on Monday.
Look for Watson to gain experience this season.
Swinney has liked what he’s seen, saying: “This is a shame because he was having an outstanding spring. Fortunately this is not a serious injury. I hate that he will miss the spring game. I know a lot of people were anxious to see him make his debut in Death Valley. But he will be fine by the time summer workouts start again in May. He does not require surgery.”
So, it appears Watson will back up Stoudt when Clemson opens at Georgia on Aug. 30.
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