The return of a solid running attack gave Notre Dame’s offense a new dimension this past season. However, missing was a true power back capable of lowering the pads and moving a pile while also adding yards after contact. Will Delray Beach (Fla.) American Heritage School running back Greg Bryant Jr. fill the void?
HT – WT – SPEED : Listed at 5-foot-10, 210-pounds, Bryant is thick from head to toe with a frame built to take a pounding. While not known for his breakaway speed, Bryant shows on film the ability to stay ahead of defensive backs in pursuit when he breaks free.
QUICKNESS – AGILITY – BALANCE : This is the area Bryant is at his best. With his compact build he shows great balance, quick feet and the ability to make defenders miss in small space.
STRENGTH : Bryant has the combination of brute strength and recoil in his upper and lower body. This makes him a very explosive prospect and allows for him to run through tackles and gain extra yards after contact.
BODY FLEXIBILITY : In watching film of Bryant you can’t help but notice his ability to bend naturally and adjust his body.
PRODUCTION : With his ability to get tough yards as well as break off a long run, Bryant is capable of creating on his own. At the college level his ability to run between the tackles while also being able to swing out of the backfield for a pass will give the Irish a major weapon. The biggest area to watch early in his college career will be his ability to gain extra yards after contact is made.
ON THE FIELD
In the running game Bryant shows great initial quickness out of his stance towards the line of scrimmage. While I had some concerns with the number of runs that showed Bryant starting seven yards behind the line of scrimmage, he also showed the ability to line up in the spread next to the quarterback and take a quick handoff while accelerating quickly to the hole.
Bryant shows great natural instincts to see the hole and read the blocking angles to react quickly. His ability and willingness to run inside with power and toughness allows for him to gain yards by himself after contact. However, the biggest advantage seen on film is Bryant’s balance upon contact and ability to break tackles. One area we expect Bryant to excel in the future will be in short yardage as he shows a natural body lean.
One area Bryant will need to correct quickly at the college level is ball placement after breaking away on a run. On almost every run seen on film Bryant carries the ball only in his right arm.
Like most high school backs Bryant has been asked to run the ball and work will be needed in being effective when he’s called upon to block. This is one of the biggest areas Brian Kelly demands from the position and has kept top players off the field until they show they have mastered the fine details required.
Another advantage Bryant shows on film is his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. Showing natural hands, Bryant does not fight or double catch the ball and can adjust and catch the ball outside the framework of his body. Again, his great balance and agility allow for him to run pass routes well but he’ll have to be more disciplined in his route running at the college level and eliminate his natural instincts of jumping to catch a pass.
There is a lot to like about Bryant as a running back as he’ll bring power and quickness to the Irish backfield. While Bryant is not a finished product his upside is huge and gives the Irish offense another power back to join William Mahone in the competition to get on the field next fall when the Irish need to pound it up the middle.