Is Kelly Bryant New Clemson Starting Quarterback?
Dabo Swinney said Kelly Bryant is the Clemson starting quarterback going into the spring.
There’s a whole spring session and the rest of the offseason to figure it out, but as of right now, Kelly Bryant is the No. 1 starting quarterback option to take over the defending national champion.
And to do the impossible and replace Deshaun Watson.
There’s still going to be a fight for the gig, with super-recruit Hunter Johnson going to get every shot, and with redshirt freshman Zerrick Cooper an option who’ll get a chance to show what he can do, but with head coach Dabo Swinney declaring that Bryant is the “clear No. 1,” there’s a lead dog in the race.
The 6-3, 215-pound Bryant has been around long enough to be know the offense, know what the coaching staff is looking for, and be ready to make the team his – at least that’s the hope.
The junior didn’t see too much time behind Watson as the No. 3 on the depth chart with Nick Schuessler the main backup, but now everyone’s chasing him.
He hit 6-of-9 passes for 48 yards and a score, and ran for 22 yards and a score last season, seeing most of his time in the blowouts over South Carolina State and Syracuse.
Johnson might be seen as the Next Big Thing, but Kelly was a top recruit, too, with the dual-threat skills to throw for 41 touchdown passes and 14 on the ground in his senior season. While the cousin of NFL WR Martavis Bryant won’t exclusively be a runner, he’s slippery-smooth in a Watson sort of way, but with better size and a good downfield arm.
Of course, no one’s expecting him to be another Watson in terms of magic, and he’ll get pushed hard by the great group of other options, but the spotlight is on. Every practice and every throw will be micro-scrutinized, but for now, getting the vote of confidence from the coach is the first step.