CLEMSON — Former Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant has received his release from the Tigers after deciding to leave the program following his demotion and has already begun the process of shopping his services to potential schools.
According to multiple reports, Bryant will be in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, this weekend on a visit to the UNC Tar Heels. There are also reports that he is checking with Arkansas, where former Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris is head coach.
Last season, Bryant led the Tigers to a 12-2 record while completing 262-398 passes for 2,802 yards and 13 touchdowns, and added an additional 665 yards and 11 touchdowns on 192 rushes.
This season, while splitting time with true freshman Trevor Lawrence, Bryant threw for 462 yards and two touchdowns -- adding an additional 130 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
Lawrence finally opens up
Starting quarterback Trevor Lawrence finally opened up to the media earlier this week about the difficult circumstances that led to him taking over the starting job and Bryant, ultimately, choosing to leave the program.
“They shot me a text I guess it was, I can’t remember but I think it was Sunday night and just asked me if I could come in in the morning,” Lawrence said. “So we talked about it Monday morning and that’s how we did it.
"It was tough. At the end of the day, that’s how things unfolded and we’ve got to move on and we’ve got to regroup as a team and get ready for the rest of the season. But like you said, it’s definitely tough feeling on one hand excited to get that spot, but on the other hand, having a good relationship with the guy and him leaving was definitely tough. Definitely still wish he was here, but like I said, we’ve just got to move on and look ahead.”
Regardless of his feelings for Bryant or the decision that he made, Lawrence still views Bryant as a friend and a mentor.
"Definitely upset. Like y’all have heard from everyone, just a great guy and a great guy to have on your team,” Lawrence said. “A really good personality and an awesome guy. Like I said, it was tough just him leaving. But that’s all I really have to comment on that. That’s kind of -- we’re moved on from that now and me and Kelly still have an awesome relationship but that’s the end of that.”
World will not end
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney is adamant that the Tigers will not take a step back on defense in the coming years after the departure of Christian Wilkins, Austin Bryant, Clelin Ferrell and Dexter Lawrence — and for good reason.
With underclassmen like Xavier Thomas, K.J. Henry, Darnell Jefferies, Xavier Kelly, Logan Rudolph and Justin Foster, the Tigers will be just fine.
"I know everyone thinks the world is gonna end when we graduate these guys next year. But we are gonna be OK. We're gonna roll out a pretty good group,” Swinney said.