Barry Odom has landed the biggest recruit of his coaching tenure while solving Missouri’s quarterback situation for next season.
Former Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant committed to the Tigers on Tuesday night, choosing Missouri over Auburn, Arkansas, North Carolina and Mississippi State. He likely could have played anywhere with a quarterback vacancy.
The 6-foot-3 dual-threat quarterback visited Missouri on Oct. 27 for the Tigers’ game against Kentucky and will fill Drew Lock’s shoes under center in the spring. He plans to enroll at MU in January and will be on campus for spring football.
Minutes after Bryant announced his decision, the Tigers landed another commitment from former Arkansas wideout Jonathan Nance. Nance went to high school with current MU wideout Richaud Floyd and was the Hogs’ leading receiver in 2017 with 539 yards and five touchdowns. He announced his transfer shortly into the season and is also immediately eligible.
Bryant announced his transfer four games into Clemson’s season after being replaced by freshman Trevor Lawrence. As a junior, Bryant threw for 2,802 yards and 13 touchdowns while rushing for 665 yards and 11 scores. He completed 65 percent of his passes and went 16-2 in his career as a starter. He will be Mizzou’s first true dual-threat quarterback since Brad Smith in 2005.
“He was just looking for a place that wanted him as much as he wanted them,” Bryant’s high school coach, Jeff Tate, told The Star. “(Missouri) has a really good offensive scheme that has been very successful.”
Auburn had an in-home visit with Bryant on Tuesday, but Tate said Bryant had made up his mind well before coach Gus Malzahn came to visit him.
Missouri is a program known for having a quarterback waiting in the wings but has struggled to recruit the position in recent years. Odom said early in the season that MU would look for a graduate transfer quarterback when the time was right and immediately focused on Bryant.
The NCAA’s new redshirt rules allow a player to play in up to four games and retain his eligibility for the year. Bryant’s decision to transfer four games into the season was unprecedented, which gave MU the chance to get in on him early.
The Calhoun Falls, S.C. native joins a loaded MU offense for 2019 that will return tailbacks Damarea Crockett and Larry Rountree and adds Nance to go with wideouts Kam Scott and Jalen Knox. Redshirt sophomore tight end Albert Okwuegbunam could also return for his junior season if he decides to pass up early entry into the NFL Draft.
Peter Baugh contributed to this story.