Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant is making progress and his outlook for Friday’s game against Syracuse is looking better after he injured his ankle this past weekend against Wake Forest.
Bryant was able to practice Monday night, according to Tigers coach Dabo Swinney. Swinney said the junior has responded well to treatment over the past couple of days.
“It’s been good. Been good,” Swinney said during his Tuesday press conference. “Practiced all day yesterday and moved around well so I was very encouraged.”
Swinney did not go as far as to say Bryant will be the starter against the Orange, stating that he wants to see how the former Wren star progresses throughout the rest of the week.
Tigers receiver Ray-Ray McCloud said Bryant was doing a nice job of being a leader during Monday’s practice.
“He looked real good. He looked real ready, leading better than ever,” McCloud said. “When he’s not getting so much reps you’ve got to be more vocal.”
If Bryant suffers a setback or is unable to go, the Tigers have a couple of options behind him in true freshman Hunter Johnson and redshirt freshman Zerrick Cooper.
Clemson made it a priority to build depth at quarterback, so both have received playing time.
Cooper has played in all six games and has attempted a pass in three. He is 7-for-14 passing for 57 yards and a touchdown.
Johnson has played in three games and has completed 11 of his 12 attempts for 81 yards and a score.
“They just have to draw on the experience that they have. Go play ball. It’s just football,” Swinney said. “They’ve been playing football their whole lives. Just go play. I thought they both did a good job with that. I think they both got in at Louisville… There weren’t many people there when they got in, but they did get in. Still, it’s on the road, it’s a different environment and that counts.”
Clemson has depth at quarterback that few teams in college football have.
Cooper is a former four-star recruit who was rated as the No. 7 dual-threat quarterback for the class of 2016 by the 247Sports composite rankings, while Johnson was rated as a five-star prospect and the No. 2 pro-style quarterback for the class of 2017.
The Tigers also have the No. 2 overall player in the country for the class of 2018 committed in quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
Swinney said Clemson treats the quarterback position like it does every other position as far as trying to attract top talent.
“It’s not really a pitch, it’s the truth. I just tell them the truth,” Swinney said. “It’s a great place. If you come to Clemson, we’re going to help you get better. I don’t promise anybody anything. Nobody. I tell them all the same thing.
“If you want to come here, you’re going to have to compete, you’re going to have to earn it. The best player’s going to play whether it’s a walk-on like Hunter Renfrow or a five-star player. But if you come here, it’s going to be an experience you’re going to love.”
Who: Clemson (6-0, 4-0 ACC) vs. Syracuse (3-3, 1-1)
When/where: 7 p.m. Friday, Carrier Dome; Syracuse, N.Y.
TV: ESPN Line: Clemson by 21