Barry Jackson

Clemson QB Kelly Bryant cancels his UM visit days after praising Richt

Days after praising Mark Richt, Clemson grad transfer quarterback Kelly Bryant has canceled his Friday official visit to UM.

Rivals’ Woody Womack reported Monday night: “Source tells me that former Clemson QB Kelly Bryant has scrapped his official visit to Miami this weekend and will instead use his last official visit to go to Auburn next week.”

Bryant’s reasoning wasn’t immediately known, but days early he told “[Mark Richt] knows how to get guys [to the NFL]. That’s an automatic attention-drawer right there. He just tells me [about their] philosophy, pro-style but mixing with the spread and [run-pass option]. It would be a good situation. The guys they have around them are some really deep threats, good targets. And also the offensive line — they feel like next year will be the best since he’s been there.”

Bryant — who is eligible to play one more season of college football (2019) — has taken official visits to North Carolina, Arkansas, Missouri and Mississippi State and took an unofficial mid-week visit to Auburn last week.

Richt has made clear that he doesn’t promise a job to anyone during recruiting — even grad transfers — and Bryant thus would need to compete with emerging N’Kosi Perry had he picked UM.

Bryant likely would be the clear front-runner to be the starter if he picked Mississippi State, Arkansas, Auburn (if junior Jarrett Stidham turns pro, which is a big if), North Carolina and Missouri.

If he picked Arkansas, he would reunite with coach Chad Morris, who helped recruit him to Clemson. But Arkansas is just 2-9. Meanwhile, North Carolina is 2-8.

He would be going to better teams if he picked UM (6-5), Missouri (7-4), Auburn (7-4) and Mississippi State (7-4). Missouri, in particular, has a very good offense, ranking 16th in the country at 494 yards per game.

But Auburn would be risky in the sense that Stidham has said he’s not sure if he will turn pro; he likely would remain the starter if he returned for his senior year. And Bryant reportedly wants to make his decision Dec. 4, before Stidham makes his.

Bryant has had nice things to say about all six contenders in interviews.

Of Arkansas, he said: “They’ve got all the pieces here. I feel like if I was to come here I could maybe make a spark, but I feel like all the pieces are around here… It means a lot that Morris was honest with me. I’ve said this that through this process I don’t want to be recruited, I want to be told the situation from the jump because I’ve been through that phase. I’ve only got one year left.”

Of Auburn, he told 247sports: “It was really good to see the similarities in the offense they’re accustomed to running and just seeing how coach [Gus] Malzahn can help me prepare for the next step. Get me better within a year and also compete at a high level.”

Of Missouri, he said coach Barry Odom has impressed him: “Coach Odom. I could tell from the first time I talked to him he was a down-to-earth guy. And just him and coach [Derek] Dooley — coach Dooley [Missouri’s offensive coordinator] has been in the NFL, so he has that track record and was the head coach at Tennessee and all that. Having that experience in the NFL, now he’s carrying it over to the college league.”

And on Mississippi State, Bryant said: ‘What’s really been intriguing to me is that the players have been reaching out. And they just talk about how much they love playing for [coach Joe Moorhead]. And what makes them different — everybody says it’s a family, but hearing players say it before the coaches is something that’s drawing me there.”

Bryant left Clemson after he was demoted in favor of Trevor Lawrence early this season. He was 16-2 as a starter for Clemson, with 16 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions. In 30 career games played he completed 311 of 470 passes (66.2 percent) for 3,338 and also had 973 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns.

Using the NFL’s passer rating formula, Bryant had an 88.7 rating last year, slightly below Perry’s 88.9 this year. Bryant’s rating was 97.6 this year but he threw only 53 passes before losing his job.

Perry had a 94.1 rating in Saturday’s win against Virginia Tech but it would have been 134 if Dee Wiggins and Travis Homer hadn’t dropped easy potential touchdown catches.

Richt told WQAM’s Joe Rose on Monday that Perry “is in the driver’s seat” as far as UM’s future at quarterback, but also mentioned Cade Weldon and Jaren Williams “will get their chance.”

Here’s a six pack of Canes notes from Monday night.

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