BY: NICOLAS IPARRAGUIRRE
On Wednesday, Sept. 26, Clemson University senior quarterback Kelly Bryant announced his decision to transfer after being replaced by freshman Trevor Lawrence as the starting quarterback. After posting a 16-2 record as a starter, Bryant was frustrated by the decision from Coach Dabo Swinney and will finish his collegiate career at another school.
Due to a change in NCAA redshirt guidelines, Bryant will be able to regain his final year of eligibility by transferring prior to appearing in five games. of the season.
Despite having tremendous success on the field, Bryant had been facing competition from Lawrence since his arrival in the spring as the top-ranked high school player in the class of 2018. Upon learning that Lawrence would be named the starter moving forward, Bryant was quick to voice his frustration. In speaking to the Greenville News regarding the demotion, Bryant said, “I’ve never been a distraction. I’ve never been in trouble with anything. To me, it was kind of a slap in the face.”
While his frustration was clear and can be understood, sports news media members were careful not to disparage a young man going through a tough situation. Rather, many in the news media have provided context to the situation and have been careful not to mitigate how difficult the decision was for Bryant.
Grace Raynor, a Clemson beat reporter for the Charleston-based The Post and Courier, showed proper reporting in a tweet following the transfer announcement, “Thoughts on Kelly Bryant: 1. Kelly is good people. Super kind. I think he’ll be just fine. 2. Not many QBs have had the pressure he has had. Being sandwiched in between Deshaun and Trevor is no easy task. 3. There is no shame in sitting behind Trevor. That dude is crazy good.”
Other college sports reporters have also done a good job in pointing out exactly why this decision from Swinney was made now, despite being four weeks into the season. In a tweet following Swinney’s press conference addressing the issue, Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman tweeted, “Good on Dabo Swinney to have made his QB decision before #Clemson’s 5th game. If he let this drag out another wk, it would’ve given his team more depth at a crucial spot but cost Kelly Bryant the season. Instead, he can transfer out & gets to play someplace else as a SR in 2019.”
The new transfer guidelines will likely lead to more instances of high-profile transfers, but as the first major example of the effects of the new rule, reporters have done a tremendous job in their coverage. From providing context to refraining from attacking a young man in a difficult situation, the coverage of Kelly Bryant has provided the blueprint for covering high-profile transfers.