A very bad week just got worse for Auburn. Graduate transfer quarterback target Kelly Bryant spurned the Tigers, and chose to use his final year of eligibility at Missouri. He announced the decision on his Twitter and Instagram accounts.
Auburn had been hopeful to land Bryant, a transfer who led Clemson to the College Football Playoff last season — and who started the first four games of this season.
But after a week reported tumult and changes at Auburn, there was no changing the narrative. After AL.com‘s Matt Zenitz reported that Jarrett Stidham would leave Auburn for the NFL Draft, it seemed to officially pave the way for Bryant’s addition.
But Missouri, which is currently 8-4 and playing Oklahoma State in the Liberty Bowl, will get Bryant’s talents. Their current quarterback is Drew Lock, a senior, who is set to graduate.
Now, Auburn will have to turn to the next page of options. Either they can look internally at options like freshman Joey Gatewood or sophomore Malik Willis. They could try and lean on incoming dual-threat phenom Bo Nix. They could also hit the transfer market again and see if there are other options immediately available.
Regardless, in a program in need of stability, there is very little of it going around.
Bryant visited last weekend (Nov. 30 – Dec. 2) and told reporters on his way out that it was a great visit.
“I just feel like the players,” Bryant said when asked, on Sunday, why he’d choose Auburn if he hypothetically does. “That would be the main reason. Since I got here, they’ve been welcoming me with open arms. My man Kam (Martin), we’ve grown over this weekend. It seems like I’ve known a bunch of those guys for a long time. Just the connections I’ve built here, being able to play with those guys, you can tell they’re hungry to play at a high level and compete at a high level and also win at a high level.”
But he also indicated other schools, such as Missouri, North Carolina, Arkansas and Mississippi State were still in the mix.
Bryant led Clemson to the College Football Playoff last season, throwing for 13 TDs and running for 11 more. It’s really the only season where he’s been a major contributor, but it’s also what made him a major transfer target.
It’s why Auburn thought they could capitalize on his final year. But it’s Missouri that earned the honor.