Clemson Football: 5 Best QBs Tigers Will Face in 2014
With the reigning Heisman winner on Clemson's 2014 schedule, it should be pretty obvious who tops this list. Other than Jameis Winston, however, there are several solid quarterbacks the Tigers defense will face this season.
Two of the major games on the schedule this season, Georgia and South Carolina, both feature new starters at the position.
Which quarterbacks make up the other four spots on our list?
5. Terrel Hunt, Syracuse
There just isn't much known talent returning at quarterback in the ACC this season, so guys that had average seasons last year find themselves in the top five of this list.
Terrel Hunt finished the season throwing for 1,638 yards and 10 touchdowns. However, he also had eight interceptions.
While he struggled against the Tigers last season, throwing three interceptions, he played solidly at times. I realize these games were against Wagner and Tulane, but in those two combined, Hunt threw for seven touchdowns and no interceptions.
He isn't an elite passing quarterback, but he can make plays with his legs. He went for over 60 rushing yards in a game four times last season, including 92 in a game against NC State.
4. Hutson Mason, Georgia
Hutson Mason replaces Aaron Murray at Georgia, so there's a lot of pressure for him to step up. When he took over as quarterback last season after Murray's injury, Mason led the Bulldogs to a win over rival Georgia Tech.
He finished the season throwing for 968 yards and five touchdowns, so solid numbers. He is another guy who isn't going to be the main playmaker, but Georgia can be successful if he performs his role in the offense efficiently.
He is a better passer than Hunt, so he comes in at No. 4 in our rankings.
3. Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Marquise Williams saw a lot of action last season for the Tar Heels and played well. His numbers are impressive, as he threw for 16 touchdowns to just six interceptions in 2013.
Williams is a dual-threat option, totaling 536 yards and six touchdowns on the ground last season.
He is above Mason on this list because of his running ability, and he’s above Hunt because he is a better passer.
2. Dylan Thompson, South Carolina
Dylan Thompson is a first-year starter, but he’s no stranger to game experience. He led the Gamecocks to a victory over the Tigers two years ago, and he has seen a lot of meaningful snaps over the last two years.
Connor Shaw is now off to the NFL, and it's possible head coach Steve Spurrier will alter the offense to fit Thompson’s skill set. There really isn’t time to do that during game week in the middle of the season, so with a whole offseason to work, this offense should be very good.
The rising senior has 14 career touchdown passes to only five interceptions. Thompson also has an experienced offensive line and an All-SEC-caliber running back, which will take pressure off him.
Thompson has made some big plays for the Gamecocks and deserves this No. 2 ranking on the list.
1. Jameis Winston, Florida State
Obvious choice, right? The Heisman winner finished 2013 with 4,057 yards and 40 touchdowns passing. He guided Florida State to one of the best offenses in the nation, and he will be back at it in 2014.
Winston torched the Clemson secondary last season, passing for 444 yards, his highest total of the season. The Tigers had trouble getting pressure on Winston, and he was able to smoothly operate the offense.
This season, the Tigers will need to find ways to get pressure on Winston and keep him off balance.
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