The Kelly Bryant sweepstakes have ended and it’s the Missouri Tigers who are victorious. This evening on Twitter, the former Clemson quarterback announced that he plans to head to Columbia, MO for his final year of eligibility.
It’s been an interesting journey for the once 3* prospect out of Piedmont, SC. He started his career sitting behind Deshaun Watson. After waiting his turn, he took over the Clemson offense in 2017. He had a solid campaign completing 262 passes on 398 attempts for 2802 yards and 13 touchdowns while also rushing for 665 yards on 192 attempts and 11 touchdowns. Bryant entered the 2018 season as Clemson’s starter but it became clear pretty quickly that the #1 ranked player in the 2018 class, Trevor Lawrence, was indeed the young phenom the recruiting sites had heralded. Dabo Swinney elected to make the switch to Lawrence before Clemson’s clash with Syracuse. Doing so gave Bryant an option to preserve his final year of eligibility by redshirting and transferring out as a graduate.
Auburn hosted the talented signal caller this past weekend on an official visit and it appeared there was some confidence on Auburn’s side that they might have made a strong enough late push to land Bryant. But late Monday night, it started to leak out in a few places that Missouri appeared to be the choice. That proved true this evening.
So what now? Well, I would not at all be surprised to see Auburn go hard after Arizona’s Khalil Tate if he elects to transfer. Tate was one of college football’s most exciting players in 2017 when he threw for 1591 yards and ran for 1411 yards as well. However, with Kevin Sumlin’s arrival in Tucson this past season, Tate’s rushing numbers cratered as Sumlin and Noel Mazzone attempted to turn the dynamic athlete into an immobile pocket passer. Rumors are that Tate will attempt to finish up his school work and graduate either in the spring or summer so he can use his final year of eligibility elsewhere. But that means Tate probably won’t be on campus until after spring practice which is obviously less than ideal for a new QB.
I think there’s also a chance Auburn elects to stick with the QBs already on the roster and see how things play out this spring. Malik Willis didn’t exactly inspire confidence in his limited work this past season but there’s no denying he at least has the skillset to be an effective weapon in this offense if he can improve his decision making. Joey Gatewood and Cord Sandberg will both be redshirt freshman and are also true dual threat QBs. Gatewood just might be the best athlete on the roster but there are questions around his ability to be a consistent passer. Sandberg has been out of football for quite some time so you wonder if he’s ready to be the guy just after only one year.
Then there’s Bo Nix. The 4* prospect out of Pinson Valley, AL is putting together a fantastic senior campaign. He set the AL HS record for passing just last week and will look to capture his 2nd state title this week. I personally believe he will be Auburn’s most talented QB when he steps on campus this spring. But does Gus want to risk his do or die year with a true freshman QB?
Some big decisions have to be made in the coming weeks.....