Some of the top quarterbacks in the ACC, including N.C. State’s Ryan Finley, Georgia Tech’s TaQuon Marshall, Virginia Tech’s Josh Jackson and Syracuse’s Eric Dungey, will be at the ACC Kickoff event in Charlotte July 18-19.
Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant, who led the Tigers to the ACC title and College Football Playoff last season, will not be there.
Instead, Clemson will send defensive end Clelin Ferrell and offensive lineman Mitch Hyatt to the media event.
Fans and media members have speculated that Bryant not attending could be a sign that Trevor Lawrence is moving ahead in the race for Clemson’s starting quarterback job or that Clemson is trying to protect Bryant from having to answer questions about Lawrence.
But that is not the case.
Clemson’s legendary sports information director Tim Bourret, who is retiring later this month, suggests players to Tigers coach Dabo Swinney for the ACC Kickoff event each year.
Bourret suggested Hyatt for this year’s event because he is a returning All-American who played a big role in Clemson reaching the playoff last year. Swinney agreed Hyatt is deserving of the nod.
Clemson’s defensive line, which features All-Americans Clelin Ferrell, Austin Bryant, Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence, gets a lot of attention, while the offensive line flies under the radar.
The Tigers rushed for 194 yards per game and averaged nearly five yards per carry last season, and this is a way for Hyatt and the rest of the offensive line to get some credit.
This is the second year in a row that Clemson is sending an offensive lineman and defensive lineman to the event as guard Tyrone Crowder was accompanied by Wilkins last year.
Bryant is media savvy, enjoys speaking with the press and was fun and engaging to talk with throughout the 2017 season.
He likely would have had no problem answering any of the questions thrown his way during the ACC Kickoff event.
He faced questions about following in Deshaun Watson’s footsteps, his downfield passing ability and Clemson’s playoff chances throughout last year and handled all of them well.
This spring, he was asked countless times about the quarterback battle and Lawrence and answered questions honestly and with a smile on his face.
Bryant has proved that he can handle the spotlight and thrive. Now Hyatt, who will be a four-year starter and potential first-round draft pick in 2019, will have his time to shine.