Hunter Helms is very quietly putting together a really good fall camp.
After Taisun Phommachanh suffered an Achilles injury in the spring game, Helms suddenly found himself as the backup to D.J. Uiagalelei, meaning he is potentially one play away from being the starting quarterback of the Clemson Tigers.
While many inside the fan base were uncomfortable thinking about a walk on being number two on the depth chart, Dabo Swinney and the rest of the Clemson coaching staff felt something different.
“I’m really not concerned, I’m really excited,” quarterbacks coach Brandon Streeter said at the start of fall camp. “I think we’re gonna have five guys that I feel I feel really good about.”
Swinney could have easily decided to hit the transfer portal in hopes of finding another arm. However, after watching Helms throughout the spring, Swinney and the rest of the coaching staff knew there was no need to go that route, confident in Helms’ ability to fill that backup role.
“Hunter Helms deserves that, has earned that,” Streeter said. “Taisun would be, obviously, but Hunter Helms going into that first preseason camp, he’s going to be our number two guy.”
Now, one week into fall camp, Swinney is as sure as he’s ever been that he made the right decision. Helms came into camp no longer an inexperienced freshman, but as a guy entering his second season at one of the best college football programs in the country, and according to Swinney, very few have put in more work than the redshirt freshman from Columbia.
“Very pleased with Hunter,” Swinney said. “Hunter, it just looks like he’s been here for a year. He’s put a lot of work in, he knows our system.”
The Tigers held their first scrimmage of fall camp on Saturday and Swinney said Helms turned in a solid performance, crediting in part, that knowledge of the system.
“Hunter I thought had a good day today,” Swinney said. “Again, doing his job. Play may not always go great or the protection may break down, but just him demonstrating his knowledge and his confidence.”
Swinney insists that he is seeing a different Hunter Helms this fall compared to the one he saw in the spring. He is extremely pleased with the mindset of the second year quarterback and is confident in Helms’ ability to lead the offense. More importantly, Swinney said it’s painfully obvious that Helms now has that confidence in himself as well, something that’s made all the difference in the world.
“I think he’s more confident in fall camp than I saw in the spring,” Swinney said. “I just think knowledge wise, he’s in a good place.”
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