Tiyahnn Bryant could have given up on his dream. He's had to overcome numerous obstacles throughout his playing career, any one of which could have stopped others from continuing. But when yet another obstacle stood between him and his goal, he knew what that meant, time to get back to work.
Bryant, a cousin of standout Michigan Wolverine safety Jabrill Peppers, graduated from East Orange Campus High School in East Orange, New Jersey, in 2012. He signed with Delaware State University and played for the Hornets for two years. When he decided to transfer, he chose to attend Jersey Coast Academy to continue playing football. Unfortunately, things didn't go well at JuCo.
"The program itself was shaky," Bryant said. "It wasn't even a real JuCo. They had us go to classes at a county college nearby, but play football for them. They didn't even release my highlight tape, which is why I don't have any offers. It was a pretty messy situation."
But Bryant pushed forward. He called members of the Boise State coaching staff "every business day and left messages." Finally, director of player personnel Taylor Tharp answered the phone, and the two carried out a long conversation.
"He told me about the camp and said that since they didn't have any film on me, attending the camp would be the only way I would remotely have a chance to be a Bronco," Bryant said. "We've kept in pretty good contact since."
He attended camp over the summer of 2015 and was immediately offered a walk-on spot, which he accepted. He was set to join the team in August. Finally, Bryant's dream was in sight.
Then he got word from Boise State Admissions, he was short one class. A miscommunication between him and Jersey Coast Academy meant his arrival to the City of Trees would be put off for a few months. That also meant Bryant would only have one more year of eligibility.
"That really had me messed up," he said. "I talked to Taylor (Tharp) last week and he told me to stay patient."
As Bryant continued to work through his delay, it dawned on him that who he was and who he wanted to be was much more than football. It has given him some time to think, to put things into perspective. Bryant's goals eclipsed merely catching a football. The sport became the means to and end, a way to achieve what he truly wants. His motivation for continuing with football despite all the obstacles was obvious.
"With so much failure, I'm yearning for success," Bryant said. "Jabrill (Peppers) is a huge motivation. There are a lot of kids in my neighborhood in New Jersey who look up to me. I keep them in school and they do the same for me. I don't want any of them to fall victim to the street violence that consumes New Jersey. I lost my cousin to the street violence.
"I want to go into politics and law. I want to be the mayor of my city and then try to be the governor of New Jersey. Ultimately my biggest goal in life is to be sworn in as Commander in Chief."
Bryant sees Boise State - the university, the town, the football program and the entire coaching staff - as the perfect place to fine-tune his abilities both on and off the field.
"The way the staff make you feel...," Bryant said. "They're one unit, and very down to earth. The political science program at Boise is great. It's exactly where I want to be."
Bryant has persevered, and finally, he is set to join Boise State in January, a feat he says has been his dream since he was young.
"I'm no one just yet," Bryant said of reaching his goal of being a Bronco "I'm just an underrated kid from New Jersey who got the chance to come to a BSU camp this summer, and did well.
I've never had anything, so I am excited to have gotten this. I'm happy to be a Bronco."
Whether or not he makes an impact during his final year of college football remains to be seen. One thing is certain, however; Bryant is certain he will get as much from Boise State as he hopes to give back.
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