Kelly Bryant to the ZOU! Barry Odom lands what may not be his best recruit, but arguably most important in his short tenure as the University of Missouri head football coach. Missouri has for the better part of 2 decades had a QB at the helm that was ready to take over the reins. These QBs have been groomed usually from their sophomore year at the latest and hardly miss a beat when their time comes. Every QB we’ve trotted out there (Lock, Mauk, Franklin, Gabbert, Daniel, Smith) has been a successful college quarterback without question and has helped bring the program along to the relevancy it is currently possessing. Missouri has consistently been led by better quarterbacks then the likes of Alabama, LSU, Ole Miss, Texas A&M and the list goes on and on albeit those teams have had much better OVERALL talent most years.
This is why the signing of Kelly Bryant holds so much impact on the team as a whole. We have no QB waiting in the wings. No understudy that is ready to take over without missing a beat. Drew Lock has unequivocally been the only guy for the job during his tenure and no player behind him has impressed enough to force the coaches hand for some playing time as QB2. Without Bryant, Mizzou is likely looking at a reset year, in which they win 5-7 games and hopes to see someone at the position pull away from the pack. With Bryant in the fold and a favorable schedule, I see this team winning a minimum of 8 or 9 games next year. This works wonders for recruits as they see consistent winning and relevancy from an SEC program.
What Kelly Bryant brings to the table is quite different from Drew Lock physically. Lock is a future top draft choice at his position. He has an electric arm NFL scouts drool over and beg their teams to trade up to snag. Bryant bring a different dynamic athletically. Whereas Drew Lock compares to Blaine Gabbert, Kelly Bryant compares more similarly to James Franklin. He’s going to extend pass plays avoiding the pass rush, he’s going to eat teams alive rushing for 1st downs and force them to put a spy on him, and from a leadership standpoint could actually be an upgrade at the position. You see Bryant’s resume at Clemson is substantially better then Drew Lock’s at Missouri. Obviously, he had a more talented team around him and better coaching, but someone still had to lead those guys.
There was never any doubt of Bryant’s leadership or passion for the game. He just happened to be unseated by the best pure passing freshman most of us have seen in the last decade or so. Bryant wasn’t a problem and cast away from Clemson. Clemson just felt he wouldn’t be able to beat Alabama for the National Championship and they needed a pure passer to do it. They have that opportunity coming up in a few short weeks and time will tell if they made the right decision. Missouri on the other hand, was in a completely different situation as a team and what they could possibly achieve. Barry Odom has impressively lead the Tiger to an 8-4 record with just a couple mishaps along the way as all of us Tiger fans are used to. But the team as a whole is still relatively young and isn’t losing many impact players outside of Lock and Terry Beckner Jr. This makes Missouri the perfect fit and the right decision for Bryant. The Tigers give him the best opportunity to have a successful run in the SEC and challenge for a division title. This all could propel his draft stock immensely as well.
Most college transfer moves are made out of desperation and lack great fits from both parties. However, this might be the best transfer situation for any impact player in the SEC in recent memory. We can all hope things blossom and turn out as positive as we feel about them currently. Be happy Kelly chose your Tigers. Be happy Barry Odom got the job done. Be happy Barry Odom got an extension. Look for Odom to hopefully groom a QB behind Bryant to take over after a successful season next year. Plenty of teams and fans around the country would love to be in our shoes heading into next season. Wheels are constantly churning in college football and for at least another year, the University of Missouri will have a more then capable QB leading the way for us. Thank You Kelly Bryant!