Kelly Bryant Transfers to Missouri from Clemson

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 5, 2018

Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant (2) warms up before the first half of an NCAA college football game between Georgia Tech and Clemson, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)
Mike Stewart/Associated Press

Quarterback Kelly Bryant will spend his final year of collegiate eligibility playing for the Missouri Tigers after he transferred to the SEC school from the Clemson Tigers.    

Bryant announced the move Tuesday on Twitter:

Kelo ⚜️ @KellyB125

“The test of a man ... #MIZ #ShowMe #PuBd 🐯🏈” https://t.co/pJPQHkVoo6

This comes after Bryant elected to leave the Clemson football team when head coach Dabo Swinney gave the starting quarterback job to freshman Trevor Lawrence. Manie Robinson of the Greenville News noted the NCAA's new redshirt rules meant Bryant could appear in four games during a season—which he did in 2018—and still retain the year of eligibility should he transfer.

"I feel like it's what's best for me and my future," Bryant said of the decision, per Robinson. "I was just going to control what I could control and try to make the most of my opportunity, but at the end of the day, I just don't feel like I've gotten a fair shot."

He will be eligible to play immediately for his new school next year.

Bryant further explained his decision to leave the powerhouse ACC Tigers, a team talented enough to compete for the national championship, and he was clearly disappointed he was no longer the starter:

"They asked me how I felt about it. I was like: 'I'm not discrediting Trevor. He's doing everything asked of him, but on my side of it, I feel like I haven't done anything to not be the starter. I've been here. I've waited my turn. I've done everything y'all have asked me to do, plus more.' I've never been a distraction. I've never been in trouble with anything. To me, it was kind of a slap in the face."

It was an uphill battle for Bryant to stay on the field, though, given Lawrence's overwhelming talent. He was a 5-star prospect and the No. 1 overall player and pro-style quarterback in the class of 2018, per 247Sports' composite rankings. The writing was on the wall when the two signal-callers split so much time during the first four games of the 2018 season even though Bryant was a senior and the returning starter.

Bryant completed 66.7 percent of his passes for 461 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in those four games, all victories, and added 130 yards and two scores on the ground.

He was also a threat to hurt opposing defenses with his legs during the 2017 campaign, when he led the Tigers to an ACC title and the College Football Playoff with 665 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground to go with 2,802 yards, 13 touchdowns and eight picks through the air.

However, Bryant's impressive showing came crashing down in the College Football Playoff semifinals. He was just 18-of-36 for 124 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions in a blowout loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide, the same team Deshaun Watson cemented his legacy against with a national championship victory the prior season.

Despite an up-and-down tenure with Clemson, Bryant is a talented dual-threat quarterback who can make plays with his legs when the pocket collapses or on designed runs, and he can beat defenses over the top when they put too many in the box to slow the run.

Bryant also adds a veteran presence and experience playing on some of the most pressure-packed stages the sport has to offer, and he will look to lead his new Tigers into conference title contention just like he did with Clemson.

Missouri hasn't won double-digit games since 2014 and has missed the type of playmakers who can help it consistently compete with the likes of Alabama, Auburn, LSU and Georgia in the SEC.

Bryant can be one of those while at his best and will look to establish a winning culture in his one season.                   


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