Target 2004: Jamar Bryant

ROCKINGHAM -- Richmond County's multidimensional Jamar Bryant is the top collegiate prospect on a high school team poised to make a run at the state championship in 2003.

He runs, throws and catches, and he has led the Raiders to a 24-2 record in his last two seasons as a starter.

"Jamar Bryant is the best high school quarterback I've ever coached," Richmond head coach Ed Emory said. "He's a college prospect in four positions. He's got a great arm and great speed."

In the 2002 regular season, Bryant completed 49.1 percent of his passes for 515 yards and five touchdowns. He rushed 62 times for 667 yards (10.7 yards per carry) and caught 14 passes for 221 yards and seven touchdowns.

Bryant also punted 15 times.

In addition, he ran, caught and threw for a touchdown in the Raiders' 70-6 first-round playoff rout over Harding.

As a sophomore, Bryant was 35-for-77 for 409 yards with four touchdowns and was an All-Mid-Southeastern conference honorable mention selection.

"He can run over you, or he can run around you," Emory said. "He's a great receiver also, with unbelievable timing."

And Emory knows talent. The former ECU head coach has been around pro (USFL-Memphis), college and high school football programs for decades. He served as an assistant coach with Duke, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech to name a few.

Emory was once offered a position on Bill Dooley's staff at Carolina, but turned it down.

"I should have taken that job," Emory said on Tuesday.

Coach Ed Emory

Although Emory is not exactly a Carolina fan, the current UNC coaching staff may want to build a good relationship with him.

Along with Bryant, several of Richmond County's rising seniors are being projected as Division I-caliber (top choices in order): Running back Marcus Rush (UNC, N.C. State, Wake), defensive end/linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (UNC, N.C. State, Wake), wide receiver Greg Crump (Maryland, N.C. State, UNC) and linebacker Levander Thomas (UNC, Florida, Texas, Georgia).

As of Tuesday, Bryant listed N.C. State as his top choice, with UNC and Wake Forest close behind. No real hurry here yet, he doesn't intend to commit until following his senior season.

"They have been receiving mail from as far away as Michigan, but Jamar is the one that has been getting most of the attention," assistant coach Jeff Simpson said. "His talent is unavoidable. The others may be a little bit of a sell."

Bryant attended football camp at UNC last summer and got to know head coach John Bunting and some of the staff.

"It was nice," Bryant smiled. "We had fun. Some of the coaches were asking me if I would go ahead and come to Carolina now. I was like, ‘What?'"

But no official offers have been extended yet.

Jamar Bryant
1st Position: QB/Athlete
Ht: 6-3
Wt: 193
40-Time: 4.3

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