Clemson's quarterback room has undergone a face-lift in the offseason with the departure of Chase Brice and arrival of the highly touted DJ Uiagalelei. While Trevor Lawrence remains QB1 in Death Valley, the race for his backup could prove to be more intriguing than some may think.
Despite having a small sample size in a shortened spring practice this year, Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott acknowledged the growth of redshirt freshman Taisun Phommachanh. With a full year under his belt, the pocket-passer quarterback is beginning to close the gap.
"Taisun is probably a guy that gets lost in the middle right there. He looks like a different dude," Elliott said. "He's making all the right reads, all the right throws, he looks in command of the system."
The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Bridgeport, Conn., native appeared in three games last season, posting a stat line of 6-of-12 passing for 85 yards while carrying the ball 12 times for 56 yards against Georgia Tech, Charlotte and Florida State.
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Phommachanh was rated as the No. 1 player in Connecticut by ESPN while garnering the fifth-best player in the nation nod from Rivals. In his prep career, he tossed for 5,224 yards and 46 touchdowns with 12 interceptions while rushing for 1,264 yards and 25 touchdowns on the ground.
"I've seen increased urgency, confidence, just his command," Elliott said. "This time last year, he was struggling to know which way the motion was coming from as we installed and now it's just second nature. He can reset protections. He can do all those things. So you just see a new confidence. And then in his downtime, you pop your head in the film room, and he's in there. He's just focused on taking advantage of his opportunities with the opportunities he has."