Idaho charges after 'Mr. Everything'

A RECENTLY NAMED league MVP in the Vandal orbit is the very definition of the words "versatile" and "athletic", so much so a local newspaper dubbed the 6-4, 220-pounder out of Tumwater, Wash., "Mr. Everything" following a terrific senior campaign. He had a recent in-home visit with Idaho that impressed both prospect and parents. And there's one more thing...

He's returning the favor this weekend.

Tumwater's Hank Bryant (6.4, 220, 4.67) left this morning for Moscow, on his way to the Palouse for his official visit with the silver and gold.

The official was preceded by recent the in-home by UI recruiting coordinator Luther Carr. The visit in the Bryant living room lasted about two hours.

"The presentation he had, I liked that," said Bryant. "It was a lot about their campus, about what they do and how they run things there, and I liked it."

The same held true for Bryant's folks, often a key factor in any recruit's decision. And the good feelings extend to Idaho head man Robb Akey.

"They like him (Carr) and the whole staff. They like Akey a lot, they think he's a really good guy," said Bryant.

The visit this weekend to Moscow won't be the first time he's been on the UI campus, he was there on an unofficial trip for the Fresno State game.

Oregon State is another he's heard from recently, talking to both Bryant and his dad a little over a week ago, but the Beavs did not extend a scholie offer.

"They said I made it on the list of final 100 they put together," said Bryant.

BRYANT HAS BEEN accorded various honors and accolades already this offseason, including being named the unanimous choice for 2A Evergreen Conference MVP, and The Olympian's 2007 All-Area Player of the Year.

First team all-league defensive end as a junior, Bryant's traditional role on offense had mostly been at tight end, while his main overall focus was at the d-end spot. That changed his senior season. With a glaring hole at running back in '07, Tumwater turned to Bryant.

He didn't look like a guy taking on a completely different role, rushing for team-highs of 1,100 yards-plus and 15 TDs. Ranked No. 2 over the course of the season, Tumwater dominated on both sides of the ball, outscoring opponents 435-152 on the way to an undefeated regular season -- and Bryant was the focal point of the Tumwater offense. An upset loss to Othello in the state quarterfinals concluded Tumwater's season.

Bryant lined up just about everywhere over his career at Tumwater High, positioning himself at DE, DT, TE, HB, WR, RB, punter and kicker. Also an accomplished soccer player, Bryant averaged 38.8 yards per punt this season, his longest a 51-yard rocket against Chehalis.

His calling at the next level, however, is likely at defensive end, where Idaho and others are recruiting him.

THERE'S AN INHERENT handicap players like Bryant have to overcome when it comes to recruiting. Because they play high school ball in a smaller conference, in Bryant's case the 2A class of the Evergreen State's 4A system, it's harder for them to gain offers from college recruiters. The worry is an athlete looks as good as he does because he's going against, assumedly, lesser competition than exists in the higher classifications.

It's a legitimate question. It also, some of the time, turns out to be a mistake.

Go through the NFL rosters. Take note of just how many players on NFL teams are from the "small" colleges. Most were passed over coming out of high school by the big schools, oftentimes because they played at a smaller high school, one not known for being a football factory or well traveled destination for college recruiters.

Now, no one is saying Bryant is headed to the NFL one day. And a lot of college football fans don't care nearly as much about what a player does in the NFL as they do on the collegian gridiron during his 4-5 years.

But Bryant is uber-athletic, versatile and has exhibited a lot of those traits inherent in the players college fans look back on in a few years and say, 'Now that guy, he was a good get.'

Hank Bryant profile

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