Football

Kelly Bryant planning to stay put at Missouri amid NCAA fallout, source says

Kelly Bryant announced in December that he will play his final season of eligibility at Missouri. Despite the Tigers getting hit Thursday with a postseason ban for the 2019 season, Bryant is planning to stay put at Missouri, according to a source close to the quarterback.

The former Clemson quarterback is already in Missouri and taking part in offseason workouts.

The NCAA handed one-year postseason bans and other penalties to Missouri’s football, baseball and softball programs on Thursday after a two-year investigation revealed academic misconduct involving a tutor.

The penalties mean that the Tigers’ highly regarded football team won’t be eligible for the SEC title game or a bowl game this fall. Their baseball and softball programs likewise will not be allowed to participate in the SEC Tournament or the NCAA Tournament.

The Division I Committee on Infractions found that the former tutor, Yolanda Kumar, admitted in late 2016 she had “violated NCAA ethical conduct, academic misconduct and academic extra benefits rules when she completed academic work for 12 student-athletes.”

The NCAA committee on infractions recommended waving the restrictions on transfers for Missouri seniors wishing to seek a transfer, which would have made Bryant immediately eligible to play elsewhere for his final season. However, Bryant is planning to stay put in Columbia, Missouri.

“It was definitely a great experience, great time, just really getting up there and just hearing from the coaches’ perspective and seeing for myself firsthand what all they’re about. I really could see myself there,” Bryant told The State in October about his Missouri visit. “To me, I felt like at the end of the day I look back, they checked all my boxes.”

Bryant also considered Auburn, Arkansas, Mississippi State and North Carolina before committing to Missouri in December.

Bryant led Clemson to a 12-2 record in his only full year as a starter in 2017. He was named the ACC championship game MVP after leading the Tigers to a 38-3 victory against Miami.

Bryant and Clemson entered the College Football Playoff as the No. 1 seed in 2017 before losing to Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.

Clemson was 4-0 with Bryant as a starter in 2018 before he was replaced by Trevor Lawrence as Clemson’s starting quarterback prior to Clemson’s matchup with Syracuse. The senior announced that he was transferring shortly after being replaced as the Tigers’ starting quarterback.

Lawrence and the Tigers went on to win the national title this past season, Clemson’s second in three years.

Bryant was named one of 11 finalists for the Manning Award, which is presented to the best quarterback in the country, in 2017. He completed nearly 66 percent of his passes that season for 2,802 yards, with 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He also rushed for 665 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Bryant completed nearly 67 percent of his passes for 461 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception through the first four weeks of 2018. He also rushed for 36 yards and two scores.

Bryant is joining a Missouri team that finished 8-5 in 2018 and that lost senior QB Drew Lock to the NFL. Lock is expected to be a first-round pick in the 2019 NFL draft.

The Associated Press contributed.

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