If you ask his defensive line coach and defensive coordinator, Todd Middleton, there's one thing that sets Barry Cryer apart.
No, it's not his 6'3" frame, sporting 280 pounds, a body he can lug around at a reported 5.0 clip or even his ability to get up-field at the rate of double-digit sacks and over 50 tackles on the season.
His coach say it's pretty simple. "You aren't going to find many if any that study more than this guy." Middleton said of Cryer. "He's watching film all the time. Heck, I think sometimes he watches more than us."
Cryer looks at that at this studiousness as a by-product of where he's at and why. "Junior college was like a reality check for me." Barry said. "It taught me that I need to be more mature, more disciplined and work harder to get where I want to be."
"So, me and Steve (Burch), we watch film and do whatever it takes to not to make any mistakes this time around."
The mistakes are simply the reason why most young kids end up at junior college, the grades not quite being what was needed. Cryer is already beyond what he needs, looking at getting on campus in January.
And, that place will be
"I can't believe it's like only three weeks before I get there." Barry said. "All this recruiting, the calls, I am just glad it's over."
The reason Cryer ended his recruiting, well, the various reasons were simple from where he was standing. That being on the end zone, after the tunnel walk, taking everything in during the game. It was almost the cement behind why he decided to commit. "The fans, those fans, they are crazy." He said. "It's pretty insane there during a game."
The fans aren't the only thing that wooed Cryer into pledging for NU. In fact, Cryer said there was too much. "They have like two hundred and more academic all-Americans." He said. "They have all those trophy winners, the national titles, just on and on, you can't believe all that tradition."
"I know everyone is looking at where they are at right now, but I look at where they are going."
Where that is is where Barry wanted to be and as a junior college athlete, he's excited that it's going to be with him as a part of that team. A team that he says isn't real far away from doing what they have become accustomed, they just need a kick-start here and there. "They've got players there." He said. "If they didn't, they wouldn't ever win a game. A few here and there and next thing you know, you don't even recognize them from the team everyone saw this year."
"The best thing about them though is that they don't quit and you could see that. That's another reason why I wanted to be there."
The never say die attitude is needed when you are trying to make your way through the junior college ranks. Not the best in structure, not the greatest in strength and conditioning, what most players get done at that level is directly from what they are willing to do. Middleton said of Cryer, that from day one, there was nothing he wasn't going to do to succeed.
"He came off that plane and we met him and you could tell he was ready to get down to business." He said. "With some players you worry about when they aren't on the field, but with Barry, you never had to worry."
"He was here for a reason, but he was going to make sure he got everything out of the experience he could and he did that. He's just a special kid that I am glad is getting an opportunity like this."
It's one that he won't have to wait long to take advantage of, again, Cryer stepping on campus in January. Joining fellow junior college commits, Dontrell Moore and Zack Bowman, Cryer is eager to take his 2 years of potential playing time and do just that, play like there is no tomorrow.
"As I have grown up a little
here, I have learned that you get what you give and whatever you want, you have
to go out and take it." He said. "It's great to be at
"I can't wait to get started."
Cryer said that he could possibly
take one more visit to