It surprised no one that Kelly Bryant was listed as the No. 1 quarterback on Clemson’s summer depth chart which was released on Monday. However, it does not mean the junior is the Tigers’ starting quarterback come September.
“We don’t play until September so the depth chart does not really mean that much other than it is kind of starting point going into fall camp,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said to The Clemson Insider on Monday and a few other members of the media that were in attendance for IPTAY’s final Prowl & Growl event of the spring. in Florence, S.C.
Bryant, who has played sparingly in his first two years as a backup to national championship quarterback Deshaun Watson, is listed as the starter and is backed up by co-No. 2s Zerrick Cooper and Hunter Johnson. This will mark the first time since the 2014 season that Clemson does not have a returning quarterback with a start on his résumé entering the season.
That was also the case for Clemson under Swinney to begin the 2011 season. Clemson went 10-3 in 2014 and 10-4 in 2011.
“(Bryant) has worked really hard to have the opportunity to lead the team,” Swinney said. “He started spring first really kind of by default. He was really the only guy with any experience and he finished spring that way. He is a guy that still has a lot to prove, and he is eager to go do that.
“We are picking up where we ended from spring ball. It is an on-going process. We don’t play until September and whoever runs out there first for the Tigers will be ready to win for us.”
Swinney is pleased with all three guys he has at quarterback this year and likes the different things all three guys bring to the table.
“I love the guys that we have at that position,” he said. “I think we have some really good young talent there. Kelly is a veteran and he is a third-year guy.”
As far as the overall depth chart goes, Clemson’s two-deep is young as only five seniors or graduate students are listed. Those players are starting graduate defensive backs Ryan Carter and Marcus Edmond, starting guard Tyrone Crowder, graduate reserve tight end D.J. Greenlee and starting senior linebacker Dorian O’Daniel.
“I’m excited to see how it all plays out,” Swinney said. “Again, we have a good front on both sides, OL and DL and that will be the strength of our team for sure, but whoever runs out there for Clemson in September will have earned it.”