CHARLOTTE — Clelin Ferrell made it very clear Thursday on who he thinks Clemson’s starting quarterback is.
Though head coach Dabo Swinney has said the Tigers likely could play two quarterbacks this season, Ferrell says incumbent Kelly Bryant is the players’ choice.
The Tigers’ All-American defensive end told the media at the ACC Football Kickoff that there is “no question” his teammates are behind their ACC Champion quarterback. Bryant has been in a battle since the spring with freshman Trevor Lawrence, who enrolled at Clemson in January.
“The whole team is behind him,” Ferrell said. “That is our guy, unless the coaches say otherwise, that is our guy.”
Ferrell said he admires the way Bryant handled himself with all the quarterback talk in the spring. He said he has handled it the same way he handled all the noise last year when people were saying he could not get the job done after Deshaun Watson left for the NFL following the national championship season.
“He handled it better than anybody could have handled it, I think,” Ferrell said. “He handled it great last year after everybody talked about how he was going to step into the Deshaun (Watson) role and stuff like that.”
Ferrell believes Bryant being judged by fans and the media off of his spring game performance is an unfair assessment.
“Maybe he did not play as well as Trevor in the spring game or whatnot, but Kelly was clearly the better quarterback coming into the spring game as far as the whole spring,” Ferrell said. “Trevor showed some great things in the spring, but there was a mental jump that he had to make that a lot of people really don’t see.
“That kind of sucks for him, but he knows in his heart he had a good spring regardless.”
From his perspective, Ferrell feels Bryant was the more ready quarterback coming out of the spring. It makes sense. Bryant did lead the Tigers to a 12-2 record in his first year as a starting quarterback, which included an ACC Championship Game MVP performance as well as taking the Tigers to a third straight College Football Playoff.
“He is a senior, obviously. He has more trust from his teammates,” Ferrell said. “He knows the system and obviously he knows his abilities in his skills and his talents. He knows he has the ability to run.
“He has worked really hard. The passing game worked really well for him this spring. He looks more comfortable. Everything flows smoothly with him. It went really, really well for him this spring. I’m really happy.”
Ferrell says Bryant is still in good spirits and he does not let all the quarterback talk bother him
“He stays true to himself. That’s just who he is. He understands that playing quarterback here, there is a lot that comes with it, the good and the bad,” Ferrell said. “The biggest thing with him is staying even keel and not listening to what the media says.
“Obviously, the position he is in with Trevor and Chase fighting him for the position, he does not really focus on that. He focuses on himself and being the best Kelly he can be.”
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