The news spread quickly around campus: two days after quarterback Kelly Bryant found out he was no longer going to be starting for Clemson, he announced Wednesday morning he would be taking his talents to another team.
“Every single class that I’ve walked into today….it’s what everyone’s talking about,” said Clemson student Colton Smith. “It’s definitely big news.”
Students say they’re sad their team will be without Bryant, but they understand why he’s making that decision.
“I feel like Dabo gave him plenty of opportunities to really take the reins,” said Clemson student John Fuller. “Unfortunately for him and us, it just didn’t work out.”
Social media is amplifying the conversation. Data from Clemson’s Social Media Listening Center shows online accounts have mentioned Bryant in posts more than 40,000 times over the course of the day Wednesday. His social media mentions spiked around 10 a.m., just after the news broke.
“I didn’t have to tell the team,” said Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney. “You know, we live in a world where you don’t have to tell them anything. It’s not like it used to be. Usually everybody…they know everything before I even know it most of the time.”
Slightly more than half of the mentions about Bryant are negative, according to the Social Media Listening Center.
“I don’t think anyone’s excited that that happened,” Smith said.
It’s not just Clemson fans who are weighing in. Football fans from other teams are talking about how Bryant’s move will affect their season.
“Does it increase our chances to beat them, or does it weaken our changes to beat them,” said Amanda Moore, who is the associate director of the Social Media Listening Center.
Coach Swinney is also concentrating on the future.
“It’s his decision,” Swinney said. “You got to support him on that and move on.”