Bob Wojnowski, Angelique S. Chengelis and Matt Charboneau preview Week 5 of the college football season. The Detroit News
Clemson senior quarterback Kelly Bryant feels he didn’t get a fair shot to keep his job and has decided to transfer after highly touted freshman Trevor Lawrence was named the starter for the third-ranked Tigers.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney announced Bryant’s intention to transfer Wednesday, two days after it was announced Lawrence would start against Syracuse.
Bryant had started the past 18 games for the Tigers, going 16-2. He missed the past two days of practice after what Swinney said was an emotional conversation between the two on Monday.
“It was a rough day,” Swinney said.
Bryant’s demotion did not sit well with the graduate student, who led Clemson to a 12-2 mark last year, a third consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference championship and College Football Playoff spot.
“I’ve been here. I’ve waited my turn. I’ve done everything y’all have asked me to do, plus more,’” Bryant told The Greenville News . “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.”
Bryant did not immediately return messages left by The Associated Press.
Bryant, who turned 22 on Tuesday, graduated this past May and has one more year of eligibility left. NCAA rules permitted him to play in four games this year. But had he taken a snap against Syracuse on Saturday, Bryant’s college career would’ve ended after this season.
Questions about Bryant’s performance after he replaced former Clemson All-America Deshaun Watson began in last year’s Sugar Bowl.
After Tigers’ offensive struggles in a 24-6 loss to Alabama, many outside the program started pointing to the 6-foot-6 Lawrence as the Tigers’ next championship quarterback.
Bryant won the starting job this summer, although Lawrence has gotten significant time in what had been Clemson’s two-quarterback rotation.
While Bryant has started all four games this season, Lawrence has been more productive. He’s completed 39 of 60 passes for 600 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions.
Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt said sophomore quarterback Jarrett Guarantano should be available against No. 2 Georgia after he appeared to hurt his knee last week.