Dabo Swinney Says He'd Take Back QB Kelly Bryant After Trevor Lawrence Injury

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistSeptember 29, 2018

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, left, talks with Kelly Bryant (2) during the first half of the Atlantic Coast Conference championship NCAA college football game against Miami in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)
Bob Leverone/Associated Press

Kelly Bryant's decision to transfer loomed large Saturday after Clemson Tigers starting quarterback Trevor Lawrence suffered an injury against the Syracuse Orange.

At halftime, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney indicated he'd welcome Bryant back to the team.

"Heck yeah. I love that kid," Swinney said in an on-field interview with ESPN's Holly Rowe when asked about a possible Bryant return, per The Athletic's Bruce Feldman. Clemson confirmed to Morgan Moriarty of SB Nation that Bryant is still enrolled at the school. 

Lawrence took a hit to the head as he was stumbling to the ground in the first half. The State's Matt Connolly noted Chase Brice finished the half before Clemson ruled Lawrence out for the remainder of the game. 

The Tigers needed a big fourth quarter to earn a 27-23 come from behind win and stay undefeated.

Bryant first told the Greenville NewsManie Robinson that he intended to leave Clemson after the Tigers made Lawrence their starting quarterback: "I feel like it's what's best for me and my future. 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."

Going with Lawrence over Bryant made sense for the Tigers. Bryant, a senior and the returning starter, may have the experience edge, but Lawrence clearly boasts the higher ceiling and arguably outplayed his teammate. 

Lawrence had 600 passing yards, nine touchdowns and a 191.8 passer rating through four games, compared to 461 yards, two touchdowns and a 146.9 passer rating for Bryant.

However, making Lawrence the first option under center meant potentially alienating Bryant, who would maintain one more year of eligibility under the NCAA's new rules by transferring now.

Swinney may want Bryant to return—and Bryant hasn't officially transferred to a new school—but there could be no going back.

Based on Bryant's comments, he wasn't happy with the way he was demoted, and he may rather have a full season in new surroundings than finish up 2018 at Clemson.

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