What role transfer QB Paul Tyson will have at Clemson

Matt Connollyby:Matt Connolly12/26/22


For the second consecutive year, Clemson turned to the transfer portal to bring in a quarterback.

Just like last year, the Tigers didn’t add someone to come in and be the starter, though.

Transfer QB Paul Tyson won’t battle with Cade Klubnik and Christopher Vizzina for the starting job in 2023. But he will provide depth and be counted on to help the younger QBs on Clemson’s roster next season.

“We’re honest. We’re transparent. I wasn’t looking for a guy to come in here and be the starter. We think we have that,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “But we needed an older guy, who has been through a lot of game plans, a lot of practices. Somebody who’s got a level of maturity to him. A Hunter Johnson situation — that’s what we needed.”

Tyson is exactly what Clemson was looking for as a college QB with four years of experience.

He was a backup at Alabama from 2019-21, before transferring to Arizona State and serving in a backup role there this season. Tyson appeared in one game for the Sun Devils this year and entered the transfer portal earlier this month.

Tyson joins an inexperienced quarterback room with a starter in Klubnik who will make his first career start in the Orange Bowl later this week. Vizzina just signed with Clemson last Wednesday and has obviously never played in a college game.

In 2023, Clemson is also expected to have redshirt freshman Trent Pearman and redshirt junior Hunter Helms on the roster. However, neither of those two appeared in a game this season.

With Tyson coming on board, it could work out that he is the backup and Clemson is able to redshirt Vizzina.

“I mean you’ve got Trent who hasn’t played. CV’s just getting here. And we’re going to let him compete and we’ll see how it all plays out,” Swinney said. “Maybe Cade does what we think he can do, and maybe it works out where maybe we can play CV four games and hold him. I don’t know. We’ll have to see. Maybe CV wins the job. I don’t know.”

The original plan was for Clemson to wait until May and find someone from the portal at QB.

However, Tyson spoke with Clemson receiver Hamp Greene about his interest in joining Clemson’s program after entering the portal.

Greene passed along the message to Swinney, and Clemson was able to go ahead and add a quarterback on Signing Day.

Tyson, who is the great grandson of former Alabama head coach Bear Bryant, passed on opportunities elsewhere to come be a backup at Clemson.

Much like Hunter Johnson, he hopes to eventually get into coaching.

“He had a lot of Group of 5 opportunities. He had one really good SEC opportunity to go compete to be the starter. But I think for him, he values who we are here. He’s also a guy that wants to coach at some point. I think he saw this as the best of both worlds for him – to be a great teammate, to be ready to help these young guys grow and mature. He’s seen a lot. He’s been around some great players and he’s been around some great coaches. But also to further lay a foundation for what he wants his future to look like,” Swinney said.

“So we were just transparent in what we were looking for and the rest is history. To me, I’m like, ‘Wow, it would be pretty cool to help Bear Bryant’s great grandson get into coaching one day, help him develop a little bit in that realm.’ So that would be pretty cool. But we’ve got some time before that comes. We need him to bring that veteran presence that Hunter brought for us.”