Kelly Bryant will start at QB for Clemson to open season

Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant will start against Kent State to open the season, coach Dabo Swinney said Monday, officially ending the competition to replace Deshaun Watson.

Bryant, who spent the past two years behind Watson, has been the favorite to win the starting job since the spring. But Swinney wanted redshirt freshman Zerrick Cooper and true freshman Hunter Johnson to compete with Bryant into fall practice.

As the most experienced quarterback on the roster, Bryant had the edge. Though Bryant will start, Swinney said the plan is for Cooper and Johnson to get playing time early in the season. Cooper goes into the season as the backup, with Johnson third string.

"Kelly Bryant is the starter," Swinney told local reporters. "He has earned it and I am proud of him. It has been a great competition, but this part is over."

Bryant, a junior, has played in 12 games in his career. He has completed 13 of 18 passes for 75 yards and a touchdown, with 35 rushes for 178 yards and three scores, giving him 253 yards of total offense on 53 plays for his career.

In Clemson's scrimmage this past Saturday, he was 14-of-20 passing for 177 yards and a score.