Clemson University

Clemson seniors speak out on Kelly Bryant’s decision to transfer

Kelly Bryant and Hunter Renfrow were leaders for Clemson.
Kelly Bryant and Hunter Renfrow were leaders for Clemson. tdominick@thestate.com

Clemson receiver Hunter Renfrow had a pretty typical game last week against Syracuse from a usage standpoint.

The senior played 45 snaps against the Orange, one more than he played against Georgia Southern in Week 3 and 14 fewer than he played at Texas A&M in Week 2.

But when Renfrow walked off the field after Clemson’s 27-23 come-from-behind victory against Syracuse, he was spent.

“I don’t think I’ve been as exhausted after a game as I was that game, just from all that went on,” Renfrow said.

While Renfrow might have played his typical number of snaps last week, the week was anything but typical off the field.

Freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence was named the starter over senior Kelly Bryant on Monday and two days later Bryant announced he was transferring.

In addition, senior cornerback Mark Fields was suspended for a violation of team rules, and receiver Cornell Powell did not play because of an academic issue.

“It was interesting … Not just with Kelly but with guys getting suspended and certainly Kelly was a big part of it,” Renfrow said. “Coach (Dabo) Swinney did a good job of trying to treat it like a season-ending injury. We just have to move on with the guys in the room and just go out and make plays. But it was definitely an interesting week.”

Although Bryant leaving wasn’t the only distraction last week, he was certainly the biggest one. Renfrow has a close relationship with the former Wren star and said it was hard to see him go.

Still, Renfrow said he has respect for Bryant as a player and a person.

“It’s tough. Someone that you love and someone that you respect as much as Kelly, he made a decision and you just have to stand behind him,” Renfrow said. “He’s always made the right decision. That’s something, if he was kind of a tool bag and off on his own a lot, then you kind of look at it one way. But he’s always been for the team and always made the right decision, so you’ve just got to stand by him and support him.”

Christian Wilkins, who arrived with Bryant as a part of the 2015 recruiting class, also said it was hard to see Bryant not finish his career at Clemson.

“I have a lot of respect for Kelly as a player and as a man. There’s probably been no one I’ve had more respect for. Just really ultimately, we’ve just got to love and support him,” Wilkins said. “He’s still our brother; he’s still our good friend. Whatever a player has to make for himself, you’ve just got to support it.”

Even though Renfrow is supporting Bryant, he is not a fan of the transfer rule that allowed Bryant to leave.

“I personally don’t like it. I think that obviously when you start something, I don’t like having to worry about that. It seems like now Week 4 every year is going to be the trade deadline and everyone’s going to have to make decisions,” Renfrow said. “So I don’t like that part of it. When you commit to a school, you commit to a team. I mean that’s your team, right? And so it’s interesting.”

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