A Clemson victory over Miami in the ACC Championship on Saturday will put the Tigers in the College Football Playoff for the third straight year and leave them two wins shy of their second consecutive national title.
The Tigers’ success this year has been due in part to the play of Kelly Bryant. The junior has impressed in his first season as starter, throwing for over 2400 yards and 6 touchdowns while adding 639 yards and 10 more touchdowns on the ground.
Here are five things to know about the Clemson quarterback.
1. Kelly Bryant was ranked as one of South Carolina’s top recruits in the class of 2015
Bryant was considered the state’s No. 7 recruit in his class and the No. 14 dual-threat quarterback, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings. His other offers besides Clemson included Duke, Florida, N.C. State, North Carolina, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Virginia and Virginia Tech. He committed to Clemson on January 13, 2015.
2. Kelly Bryant put up monster stats as a senior in high school in 2014
Bryant’s numbers were a big reason why Clemson pursued him as a replacement for Deshaun Watson at quarterback.
As a senior at Piedmont (S.C.) Wren High School in 2014, Bryant threw for an eye-popping 3,560 yards and 41 touchdowns. He also added 720 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground.
3. Kelly Bryant is one of the leading rushers on the Clemson roster in 2017
Entering the ACC Championship Game, Bryant registered 639 yards and 10 touchdowns on 164 carries. His 639 yards is second on the team to Travis Etienne’s 720.
4. Kelly Bryant figured into the running game several times as a freshman and sophomore
The Clemson staff found plenty of use for Bryant, even though his main role was to sit and learn under Watson at quarterback.
As a freshman in 2015, Bryant recorded 5 carries for 59 yards and 2 touchdowns against Miami, then later added 8 carries for 58 yards against Wake Forest.
Bryant also threw his first career touchdown against Wake Forest in 2015.
5. Kelly Bryant was named starting quarterback over Zerrick Cooper and Hunter Johnson before the season began
Bryant was in a battle with Cooper and Johnson for the starter’s role during the preseason.
However, Dabo Swinney ended all speculation in August when he named Bryant to the role.
“From when he got here, he had a long way to go,” Swinney told reporters at the time. “He’s embraced it and now he’s really playing with a ton of confidence. He’s doing a great job of leading. So that’s where we are.”