After a drawn out recruiting process rife with speculation, former Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant announced on Twitter Tuesday night that he has decided to transfer to Missouri.
In his junior year, he threw for 2,802 yards, 13 touchdowns, 8 interceptions, and a quarterback-rating of 131.7. He was a big part of Clemson’s 11-2 record, its dominating performance against Miami to win another ACC championship, and its loss to No. 4 Alabama in the College Football Playoff semifinal.
Much was made over his public decision to transfer schools after heralded freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence emerged as the starter in September. Soon after announcing his decision to transfer, Bryant compiled a list of six schools that piqued his interest- Arkansas, Auburn, Miami, Mississippi State, Missouri, and North Carolina.
Mizzou has been no stranger to producing NFL-caliber quarterback talent through the years. Chase Daniel currently has the starting job for the Chicago Bears due to an injured Mitchell Trubisky. Senior quarterback Drew Lock is projected to be one of the first quarterbacks taken in the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft. Blaine Gabbert has contributed at times for Tennessee in 2018.
With Lock’s departure, Missouri needed a dual-threat player, and Bryant perfectly fits that description. He isn’t as much as a deep ball threat as Lock, he has a faster breakaway speed, plus better short passing accuracy. Because of this, wideouts such as freshman Jalen Knox and junior Johnathon Johnson are going to be the true centerpieces in the spread Dooley offense.
Bryant’s decision also had an immediate impact: former Arkansas wide receiver Jonathan Nance, who visited along with Bryant on Oct. 20, announced immediately after that he was joining Bryant at Missouri. Nance led Arkansas in receptions in 2017, and is a good friend of both Bryant and high school teammate and current Missouri junior wide receiver Richaud Floyd.
This decision has a wealth of implications of the program. This season, Mizzou finish with an 8-4 record, and is set to face former Big 12 foe Oklahoma State in the Liberty Bowl on New Year’s Eve.
After quality wins against No. 13 Florida, Purdue and Memphis, Missouri was ranked No. 23 in the final College Football Playoff ranking of the regular season Sunday.
Bryant’s decision is a window into the bigger picture for Missouri: this is an established Southeastern Conference program. He chose the Tigers over SEC rivals Auburn and Arkansas, who in the past have had more appeal than a Missouri program. Where some fans question Missouri’s place in the conference after it joined in 2012, Bryant’s decision affirms the Tigers’ place.
It’s also a sign that head coach Barry Odom has forged Missouri into a desirable program. Its reputation for potent offenses and track record of producing NFL-caliber talent clearly appealed to Bryant, and that led to Missouri settling its quarterback situation for 2019 before Lock even walks out the door.
This is a program that has wanted respect and a chance to prove themselves, and the time is now to do so.
Edited by Garrett Jones | firstname.lastname@example.org