Clemson Named Kelly Bryant Starting Quarterback

Clemson, S.C. Sporting Alert — College football defending national champion Clemson has named Kelly Bryant as the team’s starting quarterback in the season opener against Kent State on September 2.

Head coach Dabo Swinney made the announcement after practice on Monday after Bryant impressed during spring practice.

In fact, he was listed as the first-team quarterback since the beginning of spring, but it is now official, he will lead the offense in the season opener.

The junior from Calhoun Falls, S.C. and Wren High School, had spent his first two years serving as a reserve behind Deshaun Watson and Nick Schuessler, who both departed last season after the Tigers won the College Football Playoff National Championship.

“Kelly Bryant is the starter,” said Swinney. “He has earned it and I am proud of him.

“It has been a great competition, but this part is over. Zerrick Cooper is the number-two quarterback, but Hunter Johnson is right there.

“We hope to get all three quarterbacks experience in the first part of the season.”

Bryant has played 12 games so far in his career.

He has completed 13-18 passes for 75 yards and a touchdown.

Swinney said the plan at this time is to red-shirt freshman Chase Brice.

The Tigers, who went 14-1 last season on their way to beating Alabama 35-31 in the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship Game, has been preparing well to start the defense of their national title and Swinney is pleased with the way things are heading.

“We turned the page today and started our preparation for Kent State,” the coach added. “Everyone was happy to see that. This team is ready to play someone else.

“The defense responded today. There was attention to detail on that side of the ball and they put in a good day’s work. I could sense the energy today.”

True freshmen Travis Etienne, Justin Foster, Tee Higgins, Hunter Johnson, Amari Rodgers and A.J. Terrell are all expected to play a crucial part for Clemson this campaign.

Clemson is ranked fifth in the preseason college football poll released by The Associated Press on Monday.

Photo Courtesy of Clemson Athletic Communications