What Trevor Lawrence learned from his first season of college football
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said after Thursday’s practice that he loves former Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant. But that doesn’t mean the current Missouri QB is going to get a ring for his part in the Tigers’ 2018 national championship.
Bryant started the first four games of the season for Clemson in 2018 before losing his starting job to Trevor Lawrence. The freshman Lawrence started the final 11 games, leading the Tigers to their second national title in three years.
“There’s nothing else to comment on. What do you want me to say?” Swinney said after Thursday’s workout. “I mean, he wasn’t on the team. It’s as simple as that. We played 11 games after he left. We played 15 games.”
Bryant completed 36 of 54 passes in 2018, throwing for 461 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed for 130 yards and two scores while splitting time with Lawrence the first four weeks of the year.
When Lawrence was named the starter prior to Clemson’s Week 5 game against Syracuse, Bryant left the team to sit out the rest of the year and preserve his final season of eligibility.
He announced in December that he would play his final season at Missouri.
“What can I say that I haven’t already said? I love Kelly. But you’ve gotta be on the team,” Swinney said. “He certainly could’ve been here, but he wasn’t.”
Dabo talks NCAA violations
The State obtained a copy of Clemson football’s 13 self-reported violations for 2018-19 on Wednesday.
Swinney discussed the violations following Thursday’s practice.
“That’s all old news. I mean I know they have to do that stuff I guess once a year, but we deal with those things as they come,” Swinney said. “Some of them we don’t ever even know. There’s no intentional rule breaking, that’s for sure.”
The violations ranged from sending out information early to recruits, to a player receiving more than the going rate for work, to a team stopping by Clemson on its way to a seven-on-seven tournament.
“From time to time there’s some things that happen when somebody inadvertently sends an email to somebody that they thought was a junior but he’s a sophomore or whatever. And we report that. That’s the biggest thing is to have compliance, and most of those things you self report,” Swinney said. “We had a group show up here one day in our lobby. I don’t even know where they came from, to be honest with you. I never saw them. Well they were on some seven on seven trip or something passing through and stopped off in Clemson to say hey to Clemson and well, that was a violation.”
All of the violations are considered to be secondary violations.
“We spend a lot of time on compliance. That’s a huge part of what we do,” Swinney said. “But there’s a lot of moving parts. So when you have an issue you just address it and learn from it and move forward.”
DE battle heating up
Clemson has to replace both starters at defensive end with Clelin Ferrell and Austin Bryant now in the NFL, and there are plenty of options for the Tigers to do so.
Clemson has five guys battling for two starting jobs with Justin Foster, Logan Rudolph, Xavier Thomas, K.J. Henry and Justin Mascoll all expected to get plenty of playing time in 2019. Foster and Rudolph have been working as the starting two defensive ends thus far in camp, and Thomas, a preseason All-ACC selection, also has a strong chance to earn a starting job.
“The two most consistent, that’s who will run out there first... We’re really pleased with where they (all) are,” Swinney said. “That group’s got a lot of technical things they’ve got to improve on, alignments, details of steps and footwork and angles. Just their eyes. A lot of stuff. But that group is coming, and their effort is good, and the competition is awesome. I think if we stay the course we’ll be a very functional group.”