It was not the news Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant wanted to hear Monday morning as it was released freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence will be starting against Syracuse Saturday in Death Valley.
Bryant started the game against Georgia Tech in Atlanta this past Saturday. During the first two drives the Clemson offense went three-and-out each time and had a total of 13 yards in those first two possessions.
Lawrence then took over from there. He completed 13-of-18 passes for 176 yards with four touchdowns in Clemson’s victory over the Yellow Jackets. It was the first four-touchdown passing performance by a Clemson quarterback since Deshaun Watson threw six against South Carolina at the end of the 2016 regular season.
During his time as a starting quarterback, Bryant has gone 16-2 in the 18 consecutive games he started, which is second to Watson from a win percentage.
“It was a decision, like I said, Kelly didn’t do anything wrong,” Elliott said. “Both of them have played well. Just when you look at them after four games, when you look at the production obviously you have to reward the production and that was a situation where coach said, ‘Hey this young man has been productive.’
“You look at what (Lawrence) did in the last game with the drives that he had and the points that he put on the board. So it was more of a situation of you just have to reward him for that production. He has earned that right.”
Despite the decision to start Lawrence this upcoming week Elliott is still proud of where Bryant has taken this team. In his first year as a starter in 2017, Bryant led the Tigers to an ACC Championship and College Football Playoff appearance. He was also named the MVP of the 2017 ACC Championship game.
The decision to start Lawrence only applies to this week and this certainly does not mean Bryant will never start again.
“Kelly has done a lot for this program,” Elliott said. “He’s an unbelievable young man. He has overcome a lot of adversity. He has put everything that he has into being the starting quarterback. Again, this is just this week.
“So, obviously, I know that he’s probably disappointed because he knows that he’s a leader on this team. The guys look up to him. But he also understands the competition. He knows that and I think he trusts the process with the coaches that we’re going to be fair and we’re going to reward the guys that deserve the opportunities.”