Taisun Phommachanh's spring game ACL injury set Clemson dangerously close to panic mode in the eyes of those nationally, but Dabo Swinney and Clemson fans saw two potential quarterback room additions for 2021 stay off of MLB's day one draftee list.
Bubba Chandler and Will Taylor, both signed to Swinney's 2021 recruiting class, are already on campus but that didn't stop multiple analysts' from having both players as first-round selections in mocks leading up to the draft.
With guaranteed money falling lower for both players the longer they sit, every name that's called before them likely ups their chances of playing Clemson this fall. Both would then start their multi-sport careers under Swinney and Tigers' baseball head coach Monte Lee.
A missed NCAA Tournament appearance for Lee leaves much to be desired for the Tigers' baseball program heading into the offseason. Caden Grice's development has helped the talk of next year after the left-handed first baseman/LHP earned Freshman All-American honors, but Lee will desperately require bullpen consistency in 2022.
Chandler gives even more promise to a young bullpen as a hard-throwing right-handed pitcher that also plays in the infield and swings a good bat, while Taylor was a virtual consensus first-round centerfield talent.
Neither Chandler nor Taylor are likely to contribute at a high level in their first year of football like they could baseball, as D.J. Uiagalelei leads multiple preseason Heisman polls and will undoubtedly be the most significant factor in Clemson's success. Behind Uiagalelei, though, Chandler and Taylor could provide some much-needed depth.
Swinney's had depth issues at quarterback before and isn't treading unknown waters, contrary to the belief from out-of-the-know national voices. The Tigers' last time dealing with a similar depth dilemma in 2018 netted them a national title. Kelly Bryant's transfer to Missouri left Clemson with the freshman Lawrence, Chase Brice, punter Will Spiers, and Hunter Renfrow as the last-ditch option in a disaster scenario.
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Rounds 2-10 of the MLB Draft will continue on Monday at 1 P.M. Signing bonus money for the top picks in the second round will likely end somewhere under two million and likely below one million by the third round's start. However, there are teams that have enough bonus money to pay second-round picks first-round kind of money, so the Tigers aren't completely out of the woods just yet.
"What (my family and I are) talking about (now) is just looking for the best opportunity and best fit for me," Chandler told MLB Network before the draft. "Where I'm at now, in Clemson, it's the greatest school in the country, and I love every bit of it. But, I do have a tough decision coming up, and I'm just gonna let God lead the way."
Although, if either player chooses to stay in school, new national and state NIL rules could allow for both to make some money in an attempt to offset any losses throughout their collegiate careers.
At one time Chandler was committed to play baseball for Georgia. However, after a strong junior season at North Oconee High School, his football stock quickly started to rise and he was offered a football scholarship by Clemson before the start of his senior season. Soon after he decommitted from Georgia and committed to Clemson.
"The recruiting process was very fast and came onto me (in) May of 2020, so right as COVID was kind of getting kicked in," Chandler said. "Clemson was always a school that I just really wanted to play at. I mean, you see what they do on the field and what they do off the field. It's just no one comes close to it, and Dabo Swinney, Coach Swinney, he's the best."
If Chandler was to hear his name called in the second round on Monday, it's apparent that his short time at Clemson has already had an impact on him, and the decision process will not be easy.
"If I do choose to play baseball, I'll probably shed a tear or two, but all the guys up here are great, (they're) on my side, with whatever I do," Chandler said. "The QB room up here is top-notch, along with all the coaches."