Coming in at 5-10, 170-pounds, Centennial High School (Corona, CA) freshman wide receiver Gary Bryant remembers the day he received his first scholarship offer.
“At first I was walking onto the field and a BYU coach said, ‘I can already tell I’m going to like you,’” recalled Bryant. “I was just warming up and I could tell I was getting the coach from BYU’s attention. Then we were doing one-on-one’s and I was catching the ball. Then a player from our school who is committed to BYU came up to me and said, ‘Do you have an offer yet?’ I said, ‘No, not yet.’ Then he said, ‘Well, I want you to know BYU is your first.’ I was so happy BYU offered me. BYU was my first offer.”
The coach who extended the offer to Bryant was none other than BYU’s running backs coach Reno Mahe, who was on campus to watch the team workout.
“Coach Mahe is the coach that offered. He came up to me and said, ‘I love your smile and I can already tell I’m going to like you.’ Seleti [Fevaleaki] came up to me and told me and said BYU was going to be my first. I was really excited and was like, ‘Are you for real?’ I was so excited because I was waiting and hoping I would get to this point to play for a college program. Then one of our defensive back coaches came up to me and and was like, ‘Do you know you have an offer from BYU?’ I was like, ‘Yes, Seleti told me.’ To have a top program like BYU offer me is very exciting.”
“Yeah, Seleti told me that BYU was going to be the first to offer me,” Bryant said. “I was really happy about that. He’s a senior player at Centennial and I was a freshman. So, we didn’t really talk too much at school, but I know him and he’s a great player. He’s quick off the line and very physical on the edge. One time he played a joke on me.
“Last year Seleti got me with a little water trick on the field. He screwed the top off but it looked like it was screwed on. When I went to take a drink the top fell off and all the water came out all over me and it was cold! Everyone was laughing. I looked over and saw him smiling and laughing at me, so he got me good with that one.”
Also at Centennial High School is 2018 BYU quarterback target Tanner McKee, who holds BYU high on his list. Once he learned of his BYU scholarship, Bryant informed his quarterback Tanner McKee.
“Tanner is a great quarterback, the best quarterback I’ve ever played with,” said Bryant. “I think BYU has a good shot at him. When I told him that I got an offer from BYU he was congratulating me and told me that BYU is a great school. Everybody else, like all my coaches, was telling me that BYU is also a great school, so I have to go out there and visit.”
If Tanner McKee signs with BYU as a member of the 2018 class, Bryant will be two years behind him as a member of the 2020 class. McKee has already stated he’ll serve a two-year LDS mission before playing college ball. If Bryant decides to choose BYU he’d be reunited with McKee and have a chance to play together.
“Yeah, I’d be able to play with him,” Bryant said. “I know Tanner is very interested in BYU, and some of the coaches were telling me that if I go to BYU I’ll have a chance to play with him since we’re both being recruited by BYU. I think that would be cool because I would have a quarterback that I already have chemistry with, and we would be able to go to college together. I think that would be cool.
“Our receivers coach told me that BYU is a great school and he told Tanner, ‘You and Gary might be able to play together if you two go to BYU.’ I think that’s the only offer that we both have where we could actually play together at the next level.”
So, what’s it like catching footballs from an Elite 11 quarterback?
“It’s great and every ball is right there [on the money],” Bryant said. “He throws a nice ball, reads well, has a strong arm, and can make every pass. He’s the best quarterback I can play with at the high school level. He has a quick release and his timing is outstanding. He’s the best out there.”
BYU’s offensive coordinator Ty Detmer is looking to build a powerhouse offense and Bryant understands that. Taking a visit to BYU is on Bryant’s priority list.
“[Coach Detmer] is a great coach,” Bryant said. I’m thinking I have to visit and see how I like it, but I know BYU is a great school. I know it would be a school that would prepare me to get a degree and would help prepare me on and off the field.
“One of my DB coaches was telling me that I need to get out there. He told me that BYU is a great place, so I have to get out there and check things out for myself. I’m hearing great things about BYU so I need to get out there. He was telling me BYU is a great program.”