The biggest question going into the 2017 Clemson football season is at the quarterback position. Who will attempt to fill the big shoes that No. 4 left behind?
While there is a very slim to none chance that someone will be able to fill Deshaun Watson’s shoes, the Tigers roster possess several capable backups that have learned under Watson.
Zerrick Cooper and Hunter Johnson bring plenty of raw talent, and even with the little experience they will compile over practice this spring and summer, could very well find themselves in the starting position come September.
Those two players have looked good so far at practice, and it’s been a tight competition, but there is one QB that has something neither of those young guns have: experience.
That is where Kelly Bryant comes into play.
The junior from nearby Piedmont, S.C. looks to make a splash this year after seeing limited action in the past two seasons, predominately used in the wildcat formation.
Bryant said that he is ready to compete for the starting job and knows that he is going to have to earn it.
“I’m trying to make the most of my opportunity,” he said. “Just trying to stay consistent.”
Consistency seems to be the name of the game, and that could end up deciding who is starting under center for the Tigers for their tough September schedule.
“Everybody is out there competing,” said Bryant. “I’m feeling very confident in myself through these eight days but like I said, it’s just about staying consistent.”
Even though Bryant has experience, there are still several areas that he wants to improve in.
“Just little things, mechanics-wise, accuracy being more of a vocal leader out on the field,” he said.
Fixing those little things in his game has taken on a whole new difficulty and meaning this spring, mainly because Bryant is the veteran with Watson and Schuessler gone.
“At first it was kind of weird. These last two springs, having them out there, if we need to ask something or wanna learn something they’re right there,” said Bryant. “Just taking all that I’ve learned from them two, it’s really been a special unit, and now not having them, the roles have switched.”
Yes, whoever takes over the QB position will have a big legacy to carry, but Watson’s best advice is less about fulfilling his legacy and more about Bryant making his own.
“Be you. That’s one of the biggest things…he’s taught me a lot but that’s one of the biggest things,” he said. “Just be Kelly Bryant.”
Bryant does feel as if he has taken strides in the eight practices they’ve had so far.
“Being more quick and confident in my decisions,” he said.
In the short amount of practice Clemson has had this spring, Bryant believes there is still plenty of work to do.
“I still have a lot to prove. It’s been eight practices and I wanna stay consistent.,” he said. “You’re not gonna win it in eight days and you’re not gonna lose it in eight days.”
While some people might be going somewhere to party for spring break next week, Bryant is staying behind to clock in some hard hours to try and win the starting QB job.
“I’m going home. I’m gonna be training over spring break,” said Bryant. “I wish I was going tropical though.”