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Hunter Helms Has 'Earned' Right to Back Up D.J. Uiagalelei Heading Into Fall Camp

Clemson passing game coordinator and quarterback's coach Brandon Streeter said Hunter Helms has earned the opportunity to go into fall camp as D.J. Uiagalelei's backup.

While there may be some who have concerns about the lack of depth the Clemson Tigers have at the quarterback position, Brandon Streeter is not one of those people.

While Clemson's quarterback's coach readily admits there isn't much experience in his quarterback room, he is satisfied with the number of arms he has to work with.

The Tigers are also hopeful that Taisun Phommachanh will be back from a torn Achilles suffered in the spring game much earlier than originally expected. Until then Streeter says second-year quarterback Hunter Helms has done more than enough to have earned the job as the backup to starter D.J. Uiagalelei. However, once camp begins, Streeter is expecting a lot of competition.

"Hunter Helms deserves that, has earned that," Streeter said at Clemson Media Day. "Taisun would be, obviously, but Hunter Helms going into that first preseason camp, he's going to be our number two guy. But it's all competition, everybody's got to re-earn their spot."

Streeter emphasized just how important the role of the backup quarterback is and exactly how much pressure comes along with it.

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"Obviously it's an important position," Streeter said. "I mean it's the hardest position because, you know, as coaches we want these guys to prepare like they're the starter. We always talk about preparing like you're the starter, and it's hard if you're really not the starter, and it's also hard when you never know when you're going to have to be the starter."

In limited action during his freshman season, Helms completed 9-12 passes for 77 yards and two touchdowns, with his most extensive playing time coming in a 73-7 blowout victory against Georgia Tech. Helms was 5-7 for 74 yards, with both of his touchdown passes coming against the Yellow Jackets.

The rising sophomore from Columbia now has more than a year in the system and Streeter said Helms has done a great job of learning the offense, which will now allow him to play faster. Helms will also be able to draw from the experience he got as a freshman, when and if his number is called upon in the upcoming season.

"I'm telling you this kid from Columbia that's been here for a year now, has really done a good job of really understanding this offense," Streeter said of Helms. "Man, he's as smart as any of the guys in the room right now as far as just knowing, and that's the biggest thing. Like I said earlier, as a young guy, that's the first step is just really understanding and knowing this offense inside and out. That allows you to play faster. That allows you to perform at a better and a higher rate. 

"He did a good job to get in there a handful of times last year and so he got a little bit of experience."