As the Clemson Tigers have been recuperating and rejuvenating during spring break, excitement has been brewing concerning the second half of spring practice. With the Spring Game right around the corner, many roster questions still remain unanswered before Clemson’s offseason truly sets in after the Orange and White Game on April 8.

Several of those questions were brought closer to being answered at the Tigers’ 99-play scrimmage last week, particularly at the quarterback position. Considering that Tiger Nation has been spoiled with having Deshaun Watson solidified as the starting quarterback for the past two springs now, the urgency to find his replacement is conspicuously and understandably high this preseason.

With junior Kelly Bryant and freshman Zerrick Cooper competing for the right to be Clemson’s field general, Bryant was considered the leading man for the job entering spring practice, and he has evinced why that was the case so far this month. Bryant was 7-13 for 91 yards in the scrimmage, leading the Tigers down the field on several impressive drives and receiving praise from head coach Dabo Swinney as a result.

“Kelly (Bryant) has been the number-one quarterback and is improving each day. He did not get off to a good start today, but he finished very strong, leading the number-one offense 70 yards for a touchdown.”

As for Cooper, he fared well for the most part, too, going 4-8 through the air and making an impact in the rushing department, as well. With a 13-yard rushing touchdown and multiple other flashy displays with his feet, Cooper, like the speedy Bryant, fits the mold of the type of quarterback that Swinney requires to run his offense.

“All of them have to be able to run it,” Swinney said when discussing Clemson’s quarterbacks. “We’re not changing the offense.”

Part of that offense that has worked wonders for the Tigers during Swinney’s head coaching tenure has been the presence of a physical tight end with excellent hands and a downfield presence. Now that Jordan Leggett is taking his talents to the NFL, there is a certified battle for the starting tight end spot at Clemson. While redshirt junior Milan Richard is considered the top candidate right now, redshirt senior D.J. Greenlee could earn his keep in Clemson’s passing game, as well. With two catches for 30 yards, Greenlee, a former linebacker, looked the part of a D-I tight end in the scrimmage.

The main item on Clemson’s agenda to keep a close eye on for the next two weeks is the running back battle between Tavien Feaster and C.J. Fuller. The veteran Fuller could surprise many by earning the starting job over rising star Feaster. Fuller proved to be a precious commodity for the Tigers’ offense late last season, and he has epitomized as much so far in spring ball, scoring a touchdown on the ground in the scrimmage.

On the defensive side of the ball, the main area to watch is the linebacking corps. Despite losing mainstay Ben Boulware to graduation, the Clemson linebacker unit is still expected to be among the best and brightest in the ACC this coming season. Along with upperclassmen Kendall Joseph and Dorian O’Daniel, sophomores Tre Lamar and Shaq Smith are slated to man the linebacker position for the Tigers.

Lamar and Smith were both top-tier recruits coming out of high school and have displayed their impressive abilities thus far this spring. Both accrued seven tackles in the scrimmage to lead the Tigers in that category and seem poised to turn heads in the 2017 season. O’Daniel made his mark, too, compiling four tackles, one sack and one interception in the scrimmage.

On the defensive line, defensive end Clelin Ferrell has continued his ascension since the start of spring practice. Coming on strong late in the 2016 season, Ferrell became one of Clemson’s top defensive players down the stretch. Now, Ferrell is looking to solidify himself as a leader of the Tiger defense, and the redshirt sophomore has done an excellent job in doing so thus far this March.

“Clelin (Ferrell) has got a magnetic personality,” Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables said when speaking on Ferrell’s impact on the defense. “I think he’s getting more and more confident in his role as a player.”

Ferrell collected six tackles in the scrimmage and looked to already be in mid-season form. However, despite all of the tremendous proven talent on Clemson’s defensive line, the most impressive performer in the scrimmage was redshirt freshman defensive tackle Nyles Pinckney, who recorded three sacks. Pinckney was not expected to get significant playing time until the 2018 season but might earn some in 2017 if he continues to perform at that high of a level during the remainder of the offseason.

With so many talented players, the Clemson Tigers are sure to compete for a repeat national championship this coming season. Before that can become their focus, though, the necessary preseason work has to be put in. Clemson’s multitude of position battles has made for plenty of excitement thus far in spring camp, and several of those battles may be all but decided by the time the Orange and White Game arrives.

These final two weeks of spring practice will bring with them plenty of interesting storylines, all of which are worth keeping a close eye on. The high amount of unanswered questions concerning the roster is something not experienced by Clemson football in quite some time now, but that is what makes spring camp so fun and what makes the build-up to the college football regular season so intriguing.