On the same day his former starting quarterback officially decided to start over at somewhere other than Clemson, Dabo Swinney has addressed a decision that many saw coming over the past couple 72 hours or so.
On the ACC coaches teleconference Wednesday morning, Swinney stated that he was “sad [Kelly Bryant] has made this decision” to transfer, but respects the senior’s decision and “wish him all the best.” That said, the head coach reaffirmed that, even with Bryant leaving the program because of it, the decision to start true freshman Trevor Lawrence this week is a move “I would make… all over again because I believe that it’s what’s right for our team.”
Below is the full transcript of Swinney’s comments on the Bryant situation, courtesy of TigerNet.com:
I know we’ve got a lot of people probably on here that want a comment from that, and obviously saddened and disappointed that he’s chosen to leave the team, but I really have absolutely nothing bad that I can say about Kelly Bryant. He’s one of the best young people I’ve ever been around, and even though I don’t think this is a great decision, I certainly respect it, and it doesn’t change anything that I feel for Kelly. I love him, care about him. I wish him nothing but the best, and, again, sad that he has made this decision.
All I can say is another program, wherever he decides to go, is going to get a quality quarterback and a very quality young man. We appreciate everything that Kelly gave to this program while he was here. He’s a graduate, and like I said, he’s one of the best young people you could ever be around. It’s disappointing, but that’s where we are, and something he decided that he felt like was best for him, so you have to respect that.
As far as the decision, it’s just — you know, as a coach, sometimes you have to make tough decisions that are in the best interest of the team, and this is one of those decisions. And I would make it all over again because I believe that it’s what’s right for our team, and I feel like Kelly would have continued to help us win and play a lot, but it’s not what he wanted to do. I certainly could have started him this week, which would have limited his options, but that’s not how we operate here. That’s not who we are.
So at the end of the day, it is what it is. I love Kelly. I wish him all the best. Again, I appreciate everything he’s done for this University, this team, and respect his decision and wish him all the best.
Bryant, a senior, had started the last 18 games at quarterback for the Tigers, winning 16 of those contests. If he had played another snap at Clemson, his collegiate career would’ve been over at the end of the 2018 season. Now, he will be able to move on to another FBS program as a graduate transfer and play in 2019.