FAYETTEVILLE - A gentle reminder to any Arkansas Razorbacks fans dejected about “losing” Kelly Bryant.
You can’t lose you what you never had.
Bryant, the former Clemson starting quarterback dislodged by freshman phenom Trevor Lawrence, visited four SEC schools, Arkansas, Missouri, Auburn, Mississippi State and one Clemson ACC rival, North Carolina, during his about to transfer tour. As a Clemson graduate withdrawing from the team after playing the maximum four games allowed for a redshirt season retaining 2018 eligibility status for 2019, Bryant is eligible to be a graduate transfer at semester with one season’s eligibility for 2019. Bryant chose Missouri Tuesday night.
Given 8-4 Liberty Bowl bound Missouri closed the SEC shellacking the 2-10 Razorbacks 38-0 while five times sacking Arkansas quarterbacks the Friday after Thanksgiving in Columbia, Mo., it hardly seems a surprise that Bryant swapped his Tigers stripes from Clemson to Mizzou rather than join the Razorbacks.
North Carolina has made a head coaching change since Bryant started in Chapel Hill, N.C., his checking out other pastures tour. Despite a contract paying gazillions, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn appears under siege by disgruntled Auburn alums having just lost his offensive coordinator, Chip Lindsey, to usually football struggling Kansas.
Nowhere among the five schools he visited was Bryant going to find the overall offensive personnel and defense to complement like he had quarterbacking Clemson in 2017 to a 12-2 ACC championship season and College Football Playoff semifinal loss in the Sugar Bowl to eventual national champion Alabama, or playing in this season’s first four games for a 13-0 nationally No. 2 Clemson team set to play third-ranked Notre Dame in a College Football Playoff semifinal at the Cotton Bowl.
So if it came down to Arkansas and Mizzou, based on that 38-0 outcome in Columbia and Arkansas graduating its lone All-SEC offensive player, left guard Hjalte Froholdt, plus graduating starting guard Johnny Gibson and right tackle Brian Wallace from its otherwise beleaguered line, it’s pretty cut and dried simple why Bryant isn’t coming to Fayetteville.
Until or unless Arkansas coach Chad Morris can resurrect this formerly proud Razorbacks program from the 2-10, 0-8 in the SEC campaign he coached in 2018 off the 4-7, 1-7 in the SEC decline of Bret Bielema’s final Arkansas season in 2017, a quarterback in Bryant’s coveted shoes isn’t apt to choose Arkansas.
That his relationship with Morris, the former Clemson offensive coordinator first recruiting Bryant to coach Dabo Sweeney’s Clemson Tigers, speaks well of Arkansas’ coach.
That it couldn’t speak convincingly enough for Bryant to choose Arkansas is no surprise given Bryant’s 38-0 head-to-head comparison of Arkansas versus Mizzou. Regardless if Bryant had come, Morris and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Joe Craddock still were going to coach and develop whoever took quarterback snaps this spring.
It will be a wide open competition, but that goes for all positions both sides of the ball, Morris asserts.
“When you go 2-10,” Morris said, “there is nobody who has a permanent position.”