Despite Kelly Bryant’s decision to transfer from Clemson, Dabo Swinney has no regrets about the way he handled his team’s quarterback situation.
Clemson’s head coach believes he did his best to keep both Bryant and Trevor Lawrence on the roster and give each player a fair opportunity to compete for the starting job.
Ultimately, Bryant announced Wednesday that he is leaving Clemson after Lawrence was named the starter for Saturday’s game vs. Syracuse.
“I don’t know what else we could have done,” Swinney said Wednesday on the ACC Coaches’ teleconference. “I mean, I could have started him this week or said ‘hey, you’re going to run out there first every week,’ but that’s not fair to everybody on the roster. But I don’t really know what we could have done other than what we’ve already done.”
Bryant, a senior, started Clemson’s first four games of the season while completing 36-of-54 passes (66.7 percent) for 461 yards. However, he threw just two touchdowns with one interception and had a passer rating of 146.8.
Meanwhile, Lawrence is 39-of-60 passing for 600 yards and nine touchdowns against two interceptions in four games. The true freshman has a passer rating of 191.8, which ranks eighth in the country among qualified quarterbacks.
Lawrence was announced as Clemson’s starting quarterback for the Syracuse game on Monday after completing 13-of-18 passes for 176 yards and throwing four touchdowns in the Tigers’ win at Georgia Tech last Saturday.
“Personnel decisions are made all the time. You just have to respect his decision,” Swinney said of Bryant. “This is what he feels is best for him, and even though you don’t agree with it, I don’t really know what else we could have done.”
With the NCAA changing transfer rules to benefit the student-athletes even more, a player who has not used a redshirt can play up to four games in a season and still be eligible to redshirt. So, Bryant will be allowed to redshirt and transfer to another school for his final year of eligibility.
Swinney gave Bryant the option to stay with Clemson for the remainder of the season if he wanted to and then transfer following the season. However, Bryant did not want to do that.
“I did tell him that if he wanted to go somewhere else and play next year, I would agree to not play him the rest of the year and he could continue to stay and be a part of it — if that’s what he wanted to do, and I would support him in that,” Swinney said. “But that’s not what he wanted to do.
“At the end of the day, he made a decision that he felt was best for him, and you have to respect that and move on. He has to move on, we have to move on and get ready to go play Syracuse.”