Clemson’s best hope for an elite pass rusher this season will miss at least a quarter of it.
Defensive end Austin Bryant suffered a fracture of the fifth metatarsal on an undisclosed foot during the Tigers’ practice Monday night, the program has announced. He has already undergone surgery to have a screw inserted to the ailing foot.
Bryant will miss at least three games. The Tigers open at Auburn before gimme games against Troy and South Carolina State. Bryant’s target date for a return figures to be Clemson’s ACC opener at Georgia Tech on Sept. 22.
“It was a freak accident at practice on Monday night,” head coach Dabo Swinney said. “He had a simple procedure today. It is the same injury he had in high school, but on the other foot. The positive is that he will be back. We hope to have him back by the Georgia Tech game (Sept. 22 in Atlanta). We just hate to lose him because, even though he is a sophomore, he was our most experienced defensive end.”
Bryant registered 35 tackles and two TFLs last season, including a season-best eight stops while subbing for Shaq Lawson in the Tigers’ Orange Bowl defeat of Oklahoma.
In Bryant’s absence Clemson will lean on Freshman All-American Christian Wilkins, who is making the move from tackle to end, and a host of other unexperienced players for production along the defensive line.
“Christian demonstrated this spring that he could do it (play defensive end),” Swinney said. He is very athletic.
“We also have Jabril Robinson out there. He is 20 pounds lighter than last year at 260. I am very proud of what Richard Yeargin has become. He came here at 225 and is now 260. Clelin Ferrell has also had a terrific fall came. And, I have talked about how well Chris Register has played this preseason.”