Back on track

by - Staff Writer -

Martavis BryantMartavis Bryant
So. Wide Receiver
#1 6-5, 200
Calhoun Falls, SC

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sat alone on New Year’s Eve watching his Clemson teammates compete on a national stage, and he knew deep down that he should have been on the Georgia Dome turf battling with those same teammates.

Instead, he sat at home and pondered the choices he had made that led him to that point, and in his mind he knew one thing - never again.

Bryant was suspended for the bowl game after missing too many hours of study hall, and he told the media that as depressed as he was for missing the game, the time alone gave him time to reflect on his actions.

“I was depressed that I couldn’t help my team out, but I watched the game,” Bryant said Tuesday after Clemson’s spring scrimmage. “I wasn’t going to miss watching it. I could’ve done a lot to help out, but we won so I was happy. It was sad, but it was also good because it gave me some time to sit back and reflect on what I need to do get back right. It gave me time to think.”

Clemson head coach Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
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said that character and discipline are more important than winning games, and that forcing Bryant to miss out on all of the bowl amenities would hopefully get Bryant’s attention.

“There’s no question that him having to sit at home, not get bowl gifts, not get bowl money, having to watch his team win without him- you would hope that that would get his attention,” Swinney said. “That’s why I did it. If I was just fully interested in beating LSU, I would’ve said, ‘Don’t worry about those study halls you keep missing. Come on, I need you big boy.’ We’re much more than that with this program. I’ve said it many times- I’d much rather lose doing it right than win doing it wrong.

“Sometimes you have to correct character and discipline. And then enough is enough and that’s where he was. He manned up and he’s come back and he’s done everything asked of him. He’s got zero money in the bank and he knows that. You can’t get any money out of an ATM if don’t have any in there. He’s got a few nickels in there, but he doesn’t have much. I’m proud of him and his teammates are proud of him.”

Swinney said that Bryant was hanging on by a thread before he decided to improve his play on the field and his character off the field.

“He had slipped. There was one line hanging,” Swinney said. “He grabbed, held on and pulled himself back up out of the hole. I give him the credit. He deserves the credit. It’s like I tell these kids all of the time- it’s never too late to do what’s right.

“He’s not a bad guy. He’s just immature and he’s been an uncommitted guy off the field- academically, in the meeting rooms, the way he practiced and prepared. Accountability, responsibility, dependability, trustability- all of those abilities matter way more than just ability. He’s got plenty of ability. It was all of those other ones that have kept him from being a complete player. He’s had great moments, but inconsistent.”

With the New Year came a new academic semester, a new football season and a new start that Bryant has embraced- a trend that Swinney hopes will continue.

“That’s a long way of giving him a compliment. I’ve had nothing on him- January, February and we’re almost out of March,” Swinney said. “It’s been almost three months and I have not had boo from him- not one thing in any area. I’m proud of him. He’s never been this consistent and it’s showing up on the field as well. He’s probably having the most success that he’s had on the field as well. He had a great touchdown catch today. I’m proud of him, but I’m skeptical. Hopefully he can continue to be committed. He’s got a smile on his face and his having fun. I love his body language and his demeanor and that’s good for Clemson.”

Bryant intends to continue to work hard on the field and in the classroom in order to gain the trust of Swinney, the coaching staff and teammates.

“Just staying out of trouble and gaining the coaches’ trust back.” Bryant said. “Just knowing that my teammates and coaches trust me fully is what I want. I’m getting better each day. I’m working each day. I haven’t fully progressed yet, but I’m getting there.”

And if all goes as planned, Bryant hopes to build on the success that teammates Sammy WatkinsSammy Watkins
So. Wide Receiver
#2 6-1, 205
Fort Myers, FL

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and Nuk Hopkins have had in the past.

“I love it. I know I can do the same thing this year and I’m going to prove it,” Bryant said.

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