Report: Former Alabama QB visits Clemson football

Alabama quarterback Paul Tyson (17) warms up before an NCAA college football game against Mississippi, Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

Alabama quarterback Paul Tyson (17) warms up before an NCAA college football game against Mississippi, Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)


Clemson football’s quarterback depth behind Cade Klubnik took a hit last week when former starter DJ Uiagalelei and backup Billy Wiles announced plans to transfer.

Now, the Tigers are checking out a portal option to fill that void.

According to a report by TigerNet, former Alabama and Arizona State quarterback Paul Tyson was on campus Wednesday and attended Clemson’s afternoon practice, where he mostly watched the team’s quarterbacks and chatted with offensive player development coach (and former Clemson QB) Cole Stoudt.

Tyson is a former four-star 2019 recruit and the great grandson of legendary Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant.

A Clemson spokesperson said they couldn’t confirm the report of Tyson’s Wednesday visit since they can’t comment on unsigned players (that includes prospective high school recruits and transfers). Early portions of Clemson’s Tuesday and Wednesday practice leading into the Dec. 30 Orange Bowl against Tennessee were open to media.

Clemson’s pursuit of Tyson, who will have one remaining year of eligibility as a graduate transfer, is a logical development for a program short on quarterbacks.

The Tigers are well-positioned for the future with Klubnik, a true freshman who dazzled in the ACC championship game against UNC in relief of Uiagalelei with 328 yards of total offense and two touchdowns. He’ll also start in the Orange Bowl.

Behind Klubnik, though, things are murkier. With Uiagalelei and Wiles entering the portal, Clemson’s down to just three scholarship quarterbacks this month: Klubnik, top backup Hunter Johnson and former walk-on Hunter Helms. The Tigers also have Trent Pearman, a true freshman walk-on, on their roster.

That number drops to two once Johnson, a sixth-year quarterback who started his career at Clemson, transferred to Northwestern and then transferred back to Clemson last offseason, runs out of eligibility this month.

Even with five-star 2023 quarterback Christopher Vizzina signing next week and enrolling early in January, that’s still a notable lack of veteran experience at the sport’s most important position.

Enter Tyson, who projects as Johnson-esque backup: someone who could provide leadership — and emergency spot duties — behind Klubnik and perhaps Vizzina.

Tyson was a four-star recruit coming out of Hewitt-Trussville High School in Trussville, Alabama and had offers Kentucky, LSU, Notre Dame and Michigan.

But the legacy quarterback, whose great grandfather, Bryant, won six national championships at Alabama and is widely considered one of the greatest quarterbacks in college football history, stayed home with the Crimson Tide.

Buried on the depth chart behind future NFL starters Tua Tagovailoa and Mac Jones, Tyson redshirted in 2019 while playing in one game and didn’t take a snap. In 2021 he served as the primary backup to Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young and was 10 of 16 for 150 yards in 12 games.

The No. 12 pro-style quarterback in his class per 247Sports, Tyson entered the transfer portal in January 2022. He committed to Arizona State and entered the fall in contention for the Sun Devils’ starting quarterback job.

Tyson lost out to Florida transfer Emory Jones and also sat behind Trenton Bourguet when Jones was injured. He appeared in the season opener, recording no statistics against FCS Northern Arizona, and transferred after the season.

Tyson, who’s listed at 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, used his one-time waiver for immediate eligibility in going from Alabama to Arizona State but maintains immediate eligibility at his next school, too, since he’s a grad transfer.

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Chapel Fowler has covered Clemson football, among other topics, for The State since June 2022. He’s a Denver, N.C., native, a 2020 UNC-Chapel Hill alumnus and a pickup basketball enthusiast with previous stops at the Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer and Chatham (N.C.) News + Record. His work has been honored by the Associated Press Sports Editors, the North Carolina Press Association and the Associated College Press.

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