After spending three seasons backing up Tajh Boyd, Cole Stoudt has been named Clemson's starting quarterback for the 2014 season.
Dabo Swinney made the news official on Tuesday, just one day after he announced the dismissal of redshirt sophomore Chad Kelly for "conduct detrimental to our program." Stoudt was competing with Kelly and early enrollee Deshaun Watson for the starting job. With Kelly out and Watson sidelined due to a collarbone injury, Swinney feels comfortable naming the redshirt senior his No. 1 for 2014.
"It should be pretty obvious that he won the job," Swinney told Fox Sports' Coy Wire. "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."
Swinney added that the team will be notified in a meeting on Monday.
"The thing I like about Cole is that he's very disciplined," Swinney said. "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."
Discipline is clearly an issue of importance to the Clemson coaching staff. In the official statement regarding Kelly's dismissal, Swinney said that the redshirt sophomore quarterback "has had a pattern of behavior that is not consistent with the values of our program."
"I hope he will mature and grow from this and become the man and player I know he can be," Swinney said. "I wish him nothing but the best in the future academically and athletically."
In Clemson's offense, entering year three with Chad Morris as offensive coordinator, there is as much emphasis on decision-making -- commanding the offense and delivering the ball to the right player at a breakneck pace -- as play-making. That's where the discipline to check down and avoid bad mistakes might have earned Stoudt the job regardless of Kelly's status.
The Tigers return talented sophomore Mike Williams along with veterans Adam Humphries and Charone Peake at wide receiver. Another year of Sammy Watkins would make Stoudt's outlook even brighter, but there are enough pieces in place to keep the Tigers offense rolling for one more season before Deshaun Watson has his chance under center.