Bryant Looking Forward to High School Reunion

Technically, when Jarrid Bryant joins the Sun Devil ranks he won't be considered the sixth player on the team from Corona (Calif.) Centennial. Nonetheless, if it wasn't for his earlier ties to that high school he would never have been looked at by ASU. The wide receiver, offered just last week by Arizona State, begins his Tempe visit tonight and talked to Devils Digest prior to his trip.

Jarrid Bryant has been pursued very late in the recruiting process by Arizona State. Yet, his skills have been impressive enough for him to take a rare post-Letter of Intent signing day visit. The official trip is a mere formality for the Salisbury (Conn.) Prep School standout who is expected to commit on the visit and shortly after become the 22nd member of the Sun Devils' 2009 recruiting class.

"(current ASU linebacker) Brandon is Magee is a real good friend of mine," said the 6-4 185 Bryant. "We've been best friends since eighth grade and went together to Corona. We saw each other over Christmas break and I told him that I had some schools looking at me. I told him ‘let Arizona State know about me.'

"He showed (ASU's linebackers) Coach Bray my highlight film, and Coach Bray showed Coach Yarber and Coach Erickson and it all led to this. The first time Coach Bray called me was about three weeks ago and I got my offer last Tuesday. I was very surprised that I got the scholarship offer. It's really cool that I get to play again with all my friends from high school."

Bryant was actually known early in his school career as a solid basketball prospect (played on the prestigious AAU club Compton Magic), but he always wanted to play football as well while he was at Centennial. "Because our football team always went deep into the playoffs the football season always ran into the basketball season," Bryant explained. "I wasn't going to miss ten basketball games because of football."

When transferring to the Salisbury following his sophomore year, balancing both sports was a much easier task, since the football season lasted just eight games in the regular season.

Salisbury football head coach Chris Adamson was very aware of Bryant's overall athletic abilities, and was glad that Bryant always had the desire to play football along with basketball.

"(basketball) Recruiting was kind rough for him," Adamson said. "He's a great athlete but he didn't have a consistent jump shot. He has a nice frame, he's explosive, strong, fearless, and he runs in the 4.4's. All those skills helped him be a good football player."

The Knights, who finished the 2008 season at 5-3, were by no means a passing team. This is why Bryant's receiving stats are very modest at ten catches for 140 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

However, it was his impressive returning skills on special teams that had schools such as Boston College, California and Kansas, aside from ASU recruiting him. Bryant scored on five kick returns and three punt returns.

"Teams were kicking away from me," Bryant said, "kicking out of bounds, squib kicking, pooch kicking…they did everything they could so I won't get the ball. When they did kick to me they weren't too happy in the end."

"He scored a touchdown in every game he played," Adamson noted. "Some games he scored two touchdowns. For someone that was really learning the game and played just one year, he did very well and improved a lot in his senior year."

"My speed and quickness are my strong skills," Bryant said. "I also have very good lateral movement. I haven't played football that much so I have to work more on my hands and route running.

"Arizona State is recruiting me as an athlete, but I'm probably going to play at receiver. I love playing corner, so I don't mind if I played there."

It hasn't been hard for Bryant to give up his dream of playing college basketball, because he realizes that football is now the sport that will earn him a scholarship.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for me and I'm very excited for it," Bryant admitted. "I'm looking forward to meeting all the players, the coaching staff on my visit. This is my first time visiting there and I heard a lot of good things about it."

Even with all his athletic gifts, Bryant knows that nothing is given and that he has to earn the right to avoid redshirting his freshman year like his former Corona Centennial teammates have or are about to do.

"I'm gonna work out hard in the spring and come early in the summer," Bryant stated. "Depending on my development, we'll see if I'm ready or not. If the coaches feel that I'm ready, then put me out there and I'm going."


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