"If I were just fully interested in beating LSU, I would have said, ‘Well, don't worry about those study halls that you keep missing, come on. Come on, I need you big boy.' Because he's 6-4 and can fly, catch a football -- we're much more than that in this program," Swinney said.
It's been an effective wakeup call.
"To his credit, he manned up," Swinney said. "And he's come back and done everything asked of him."
However, both Swinney and Chad Morris were cautious in praising Bryant for the progress he's made over the first three months of the New Year.
Morris added, "You hate to brag on him. Because, just as soon as you brag on him, something will go wrong, but he's doing really well. And he's had a really good semester, from an academic standpoint to everything."
The explanation for Bryant's turn for the better is simple.
"It's about being focused, knowing what you've got to do and putting that first," he said.
A former four-star recruit, Bryant didn't enjoy all the free-time he had in December.
"I saw it slipping away," he said.
Clemson won 25-24, beating LSU in dramatic fashion on New Year's Eve.
"I was depressed I wasn't there to help my team out," Bryant said. "I watched the game. I made sure I watched the whole game."
As a result, he's approached 2013 with a renewed sense of commitment, both on and off the field.
"I'm getting better each day," Bryant said. "Each day, I've got to keep working. I haven't fully progressed yet. I'm getting there."
Bryant hopes to build upon the 19 catches for 526 yards and six touchdowns he's recorded through two seasons. There's too much talent for him not to make a great jump in production, and he finally recognizes that.
"I just want to make the best out of what God gave me and continue to get better," he said.