The Clemson football program has produced some absolutely great talent at the quarterback position over the course of the Dabo Swinney era, but one name seems to always be left out of the mix.
When Clemson football fans talk about the program’s recent history at quarterback, it all starts with the efforts of Tajh Boyd and the major steps that the Tigers took under his leadership.
After Body, Tiger fans turn their attention to Deshaun Watson, who led Clemson to its first National Championship in more than three decades and then the talk about is about Trevor Lawrence, who also won a National Championship and was just recently selected as the No. 1 overall draft pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The belief is that former 5-star D.J. Uiagalelei– who is now stepping in as the next starting quarterback- could have just as much success, if not more, than his predecessors.
But no one seems to bring up Kelly Bryant, and it’s understandable in many ways.
Clemson football fans still disagree on Kelly Bryant
Bryant took over as the starting quarterback for the 2017 team following Deshaun Watson’s departure and the Tigers went to the CFB Playoff and won the ACC Championship that year.
He entered the 2018 season as the starter, but was soon surpassed by freshman phenom Trevor Lawrence. Bryant decided to leave the program and eventually transferred to Missouri, where he played his final season.
Pro Football Focus recently posted a Tweet naming the great Clemson quarterbacks, but left out Bryant. The organization was teasing that 5-star QB Arch Manning could potentially be next in the Tigers’ “insane run of starting quarterbacks.”
CFB Kings posted the accolades of Bryant and wanted to make sure he was given his due.
Of course, many Clemson football fans said they understood why Bryant wasn’t mentioned with the others and there was a broad spectrum of opinions on the former Tiger.
I’m not here to discredit what Bryant was able to accomplish. He did lead Clemson to a CFB Playoff berth and an ACC Championship, but he just doesn’t stand in comparison to the other quarterbacks on that list when you’re talking about pure talent.
If you gave Deshaun Watson or Trevor Lawrence the defenses that Bryant had in 2017 and 2018, they win National Championships. After all, Lawrence did go on to win a title with one of those defenses.
What doesn’t happen is this: They don’t get stuffed over and over again by Alabama to only squander two field goals while throwing two interceptions, including a pick-six. I believe if Tajh Boyd had that kind of talent around him, you possibly could’ve seen a National Championship kind of run.
Bryant was a great athlete and he made some jaw-dropping plays during his time in Clemson, but there is a reason that Tiger fans (and Pro Football Focus) tend to leave him out of the discussion when talking about elite quarterback play in the program.
Where do you stand on the spectrum, Clemson football fans?