Though it has been the most intense quarterback competition Dabo Swinney has had in his time as Clemson’s head coach, there is more to Kelly Bryant’s and Trevor Lawrence’s relationship than competition.
The two are also teammates.
That’s why the first guy off the sideline to congratulate Lawrence following the first touchdown pass of his career in Saturday’s 48-7 victory over Furman was Bryant.
It would have been easy for Bryant to stay on the sideline and do nothing. In fact, no one at Memorial Stadium would have thought anything of it.
They would have understood it considering the freshman has come in and received all the glory and talk about being the second-ranked Tigers’ next big thing. Though Bryant is coming off a year when he went 12-2 as the starting quarterback, including an MVP performance in last year’s ACC Championship Game.
But none of that is Kelly Bryant. The senior has always been about team first and rooting for his teammates, even if one of those teammates is threatening to take his job.
“It was special,” Bryant said about celebrating Lawrence’s first touchdown pass. “I was in his shoes with my first touchdown. I remember Deshaun (Watson) and Nick (Schuessler) congratulating me. So, I am just doing what the older guys did for me when I was a young buck.
“I’m just letting him soak up that moment and making sure I congratulate him and make sure he enjoys it as well. That is special.”
It was special, especially to Lawrence, who went on to throw two more touchdowns, while completing 9-of-15 passes for 137 yards in his college debut. The freshman joined Watson as the only true freshmen in Clemson history to throw three touchdown passes in a game.
“It is awesome just our relationship and how we have handled all of it,” Lawrence said about being greeted by Bryant as he was coming off the field. “We are really trying to build each other up. Yes, we are competing and all of that. But, at the end of the day, we are teammates. We really cheer for each other and we want the best for each other on the team.”
Lawrence said he and Bryant get along really well. They are always in meetings and they are together with the team.
“We are around each other a lot. We have gotten a lot closer since I have been here,” the freshman said. “It has been really cool. Like I said, we are competing, but we have a really good relationship.”
Lawrence credits Bryant for being very helpful in his development since he arrived at Clemson last January. The two watch film together. When Lawrence has a question about something, Bryant always helps him out.
“There is no bad blood between us. It has been fun,” Lawrence said.
“It has been really good to learn from him and have him there as someone to ask questions and stuff like that,” he continued.