Kentucky Coach Mark Stoops Discusses Clemson, Kelly Bryant, Eligibility Rule

“I don’t think any player really enjoys quitting his team or anything like that,” Mark Stoops said, "but sometimes they have to make hard decisions"

Reiter Than You
October 29, 2018 - 10:10 am

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After losing the starting quarterback job to Trevor Lawrence, Kelly Bryant has elected to transfer from Clemson. Bryant had started 18 games in a row for the Tigers – and led the team to the College Football Playoff last season – but Dabo Swinney has decided to roll with the true freshman.

Bryant, a senior, will have one more year of eligibility. Fortunately for him, he won’t have to sit out next season, as players who participate in four games or fewer retain their eligibility. Bryant played in exactly four games this season.

So, is this new four-game rule good or bad for college football?

“I definitely see there’s some good to it,” Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops said on Reiter Than You. “There’s no question that within our program I could see that. The possibility of a senior that hasn't redshirted, maybe he’s not getting the snaps because some other guys are playing better. If you really look at it that way, then I’m all for it because sometimes it makes perfect sense. 

“I don’t think any player really enjoys quitting his team or anything like that,” Stoops continued. “But sometimes they have to make hard decisions as well, and we have to understand that and try to help them.”

Bryant was 16-2 as a starter but was outplayed by Lawrence, who had thrown nine touchdowns and two interceptions (Bryant had two and one, respectively).

“So overall, I think in certain situations it’s in the right interest for the young man and I’m all for it,” Stoops said. “And in other cases, it’s probably going to hurt your team. It is what it is. We all got to play by the rules. There’s going to be some good to it, and there’s going to be some bad.”

Stoops, who has coached at Kentucky since 2013, had led the No. 17 Wildcats (4-0) to their best start since 2008 – and their best SEC start (2-0) since 1977. 

Kentucky hosts South Carolina (2-1) this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET.

No. 3 Clemson (4-0), meanwhile, hosts Syracuse (4-0) this Saturday at 12 p.m. ET. The Tigers have won 47 of their last 51 games.