Nine months ago, he was just a name on the bottom of the quarterback depth chart at Clemson.
That didn’t bother Chase Brice. He would bide his time. When he arrived on the Clemson campus in the summer of 2017, the kid from Grayson High School, just north of Atlanta, knew he would have to wait for his time to come.
Ahead of him were Kelly Bryant, the veteran who would lead the Tigers to a Final Four berth and who had waited for his turn behind Deshaun Watson, Zerrick Cooper and Hunter Johnson, the main QB prize in Clemson coach Dabo Swinney’s 2017 recruiting class.
Even after the Tigers finished the 2017 season, there was still traffic ahead of him. Cooper had transferred out of Clemson, but Bryant, coming back for his senior season, and Johnson were still on campus.
Swinney then made five-star recruit Trevor Lawrence his top choice in the 2018 recruiting class. That was too much for Johnson, who transferred to Northwestern.
That still left Bryant and Lawrence, No.1 and No. 2 on the depth chart in the spring and then 1 and 1-A in the summer.
But then, as any college football fan, player or coach will tell you, poop happens.
Last week at Clemson it did.
Swinney announced that Bryant, despite going 16-2 as a starter, was being benched in favor of true frosh Lawrence. Bryant immediately announced he would transfer so he could play next season as a fifth-year graduate student.
That left Brice as No. 2 behind Lawrence, which was fine with Brice, since he could still learn on the job.
In the first half of last week’s game against Syracuse, Poop did happen.
Lawrence was forced to the sidelines with what appeared to be a head injury.
Showtime for Brice, who made his debut in a contest that was starting to look like the Syracuse game a year ago–Clemson’s only regular season loss.
The Tigers trailed at the end of the half, third quarter and, with their season in jeopardy, were down 23-20 and starting a drive from their own six yard line.
Brice looked at his teammates and told them they had done the same thing on an earlier scoring drive, so it was time to do it again.
So they did.
Brice led his team on a 94-yard drive that included a 20-yard completion on fourth and six at the Clemson 48.
Running back Travis Etienne, who gained 203 yards for the day, capped a 27-23 win with a two-yard run with 41 seconds left.
Congratulations poured down on the 6-foot-2 inch 207 pound Brice, who may be back in his under study role since Lawrence’s injury was diagnosed a neck sprain rather than a concussion.
Included in those, was a text message from Bryant, who still has an invitation to come back from Swinney. “He sent me a text message, ”Brice told The State newspaper. “”I saw him after the game and he was happy for me and he gave me a hug.”
For all of that and more, Chase Brice is TMG’s Newsmaker of the Week.