If you are still looking for a reason why Kelly Bryant was named Clemson’s starting quarterback for Saturday’s season-opener against Furman, Amari Rodgers will be happy to tell you.
“Kelly Bryant is a leader and he has been in that role before,” the wide receiver said on Monday.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney officially named Bryant the starter for Saturday’s game when the depth chart was released Monday morning. Bryant beat out true freshman Trevor Lawrence and redshirt freshman Chase Brice for the starting job.
“He’s done a great job,” Rodgers said. “When I first got here, it was Kelly’s first year as a starter. He had to warm up to the role.
“Now that he has a year under his belt, I feel like he is the guy that everyone looks up to. He is the voice of the team that people listen to when he has something to say. I feel like he is a great leader, a great teammate and I love playing with him.”
Co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott could not have said it any better himself. On the field, he says Bryant’s confidence is at an all-time high and that he has improved in the areas they asked to him to get better, in terms of the types of throws and passes down field.
“Practice is a controlled environment so you really cannot see one of his greatest attributes, which is his ability to run. So, right now, I will say it is his overall game management, his confidence and his leadership is where he leads those guys,” the Clemson coach said.
Lawrence is still going to play, and the way Bryant described it, the freshmen is going to play a lot.
“I know he is going to come in,” the senior said. “I know he is a guy that is very talented, so you have to get him on the field. Me, I’m just going to play and be ready when he is in the game and be the biggest supporter out there.
“This is the first time he is in a real-life game, so I know he is ready. I also have to make sure I play my game as well.”
As for what the plan is going forward. Elliott said there is no plan. Bryant will be the starter for Week 1. Lawrence will also play against the Paladins and they both will be reevaluated after the game.
“The biggest thing is we have to get to the games and see how they perform in a game-situation and then we are going to take it week to week,” Elliott said. “We can’t look ahead to Week 3 or Week 4. We have to focus on going 1-0 and beating Furman.”
And who better to get things started for the Tigers than Bryant, who went 12-2 in his first year as a starter and took them to College Football Playoff.
“I am happy for him,” Rodgers said. “All of the quarterbacks have been having this competition and we are confident in whoever steps out there that they are going to take care of business and lead us to a win.”