Older, wiser and a little bit better

MIAMI SHORES - Martavis Bryant paused, cracked a smile and let out a slight chuckle when asked just how far he's come since 2009, his senior year at T.L. Hanna.

Back then, Bryant was a lanky prospect with plenty of tools to be great, but in need of some refinement. As a four-star high school senior, he checked in at 6-foot-4, 184 pounds.

After a year at Hargrave Military Academy and two seasons at Clemson, Bryant has grown into a 6-foot-5, 200-pound specimen, who is just now scratching the surface of his immense potential. In 440 total snaps as a freshman and sophomore, Bryant caught 19 passes for 556 yards with six touchdowns.

Bryant missed three games as a sophomore, one of which was the Chick-fil-A Bowl, thanks to a suspension by Dabo Swinney. The message was loud and clear.

Swinney, Chad Morris and Jeff Scott, were more than happy to see Bryant begin to turn things around in the spring. They were cautiously optimistic that it would carryover to the summer, into fall camp and through the season.

It did. Bryant's caught 39 passes for 800 yards and five touchdowns in 525 snaps during his junior year.

Part of that transformation was a result of some off-the-field circumstances.

"I'm a totally different person, compared to how I used to be," Bryant said. "I got bigger, got wiser. I've got two kids now, just living life now."

So it begs the question: Why the change?

"My kids, my mom and my grandma," Bryant said, "To take care of them, make sure they're taken care of."

Bryant discovered his sense of "want to."

"Want to -- want to do it for my mom, to make it happen," he said.

Tajh Boyd, his quarterback might have something to do with it, too.

"Tajh, he's a down-to-earth person, hard-worker. He taught me a lot, helped me grow up a whole lot. A lot of guys on this team look up to him," Bryant said.

And Bryant has learned plenty from Boyd.

"A couple of life values and how the system works in college," Bryant said, "Like with coaches and everything, staying on track and everything. Just doing what you've got to do."

For anyone who's watched Bryant over the last four years, it's quite apparent that his play is so far ahead of where it once was.

Here's the scary part: there's still plenty of room for development.

"I'm playing more physical," he said. "I know more of the game. I know more of the game now, so I can just play full-speed. Without having to think about what I'm doing, that slows you down, you have to think and that slows you down.

"Once you know everything, you can just play full-speed."

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