Kelly Bryant has been impressive during fall camp and has maintained his lead on the other contenders to win Clemson’s starting quarterback job.
Bryant, Zerrick Cooper, Hunter Johnson and Chase Brice will have their first opportunity to make a statement in a game-like situation on Saturday when the Tigers hold their first scrimmage of the fall.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney will be watching closely as he continues to work towards naming a replacement for Deshaun Watson before the season-opener against Kent State on Sept. 2.
“Did you make the right decision? That’s really what I’m evaluating. And then make the plays that are there,” Swinney said. “Just a consistent performer. They all can do the job. But consistently who’s making the fewest mistakes? Because mistakes will get you beat.”
Bryant has been the leader in making the fewest mistakes because being a junior and in the system for several years gives him an edge on the other candidates. He has played in games and has been in meetings during the season.
“His confidence is just at an all-time high. I love that. He’s doing what he needs to do,” Swinney said. “There’s a lot of things that he brings to the table. His strengths are really shining through right now because he’s not making a lot of mistakes. He’s making the plays that are there. He’s pulling the trigger on time. He’s doing a good job. But all of those guys are doing a good job. I’m telling you, I think we can win with any of them.”
Tigers co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott echoed Swinney in stating that Bryant has been impressive through the first week of fall camp.
“Kelly Bryant has had a really, really good fall camp, the best week stretch that he has had in his entire career,” Scott said. “I want to see him carry that over to a scrimmage situation.”
Scott added that he is pleased with the play of all of his quarterbacks and he has been particularly impressed by freshman Chase Brice’s ability to grasp the system quickly.
Bryant and Cooper were both at Clemson last season and Johnson enrolled in December.
Brice did not enroll until this summer but has made up a lot of ground.
“It’s been amazing what he’s been able to do. Just getting here this summer, he has learned everything very quickly. It’s very obvious to us coaches that he has good football knowledge,” Scott said. “He’s got good instincts for the position.”