T.J. BRYANT, CB, 6'0, 183, 4.4, TALLAHASSEE (LINCOLN HS), FLORIDA:
Lockdown corners are one of the toughest positions to find in football. In fact, most corners are not true lockdown corners, just good cover guys at corner or zone cover corners. However, to be a great lockdown corner you have to be able to lock on a receiver in man coverage and cover him all over the field. If a coach can find one of those guys, then he has one player that can literally control half the field.
T.J. Bryant is that kind of corner. And many believe he is the No. 1 cornerback prospect in the country.
"When I hear that I just think about all the people that I look up to and who looks up to me. I can't let these people down," said Bryant. "When I was growing up watching football players play, I had some greats on my mind and when they performed well it made me feel good. I also had a good day when they played well. So, I know I have to put in the work to satisfy people and I try to be somebody's hero."
Lincoln High School in Tallahassee is a storied football program in Florida. It's a high school has turned out such great players as Antonio Cromartie (San Diego), Pat Watkins (Dallas Cowboys), Brandon Paul (Florida State) and Buddy Williams (Clemson) just name a few. Yet Bryant's coaches say he may be the best player ever to play at Lincoln High.
"That makes me feel good," said Bryant. "I have grown up around Cromartie and Pat. We usde to all run track together. They were always people that I looked up to. They were so much older than me that they probably didn't think much of me. They probably didn't know what my talent was at the time. I have seen them run track and I have seen how they act in life. I have seen how they play football and I have taken a little out of both of their games and put it in my game. I think we all have the same attributes and I have used what I have learned from them and used it in my game. So far, it has worked. Both of my heroes worked in track so I have been with the track program for eight years."
Bryant says his game has certain flair to it.
"When I take the field I always have something to prove," said Bryant. "There is always somebody that says I am not all that and you know how that is. I try to make them disappear and I try to not make any mistakes. I like press coverage and pressing up at the line of scrimmage. I have some people that say I can't jam or whatever, but I try to play off my man in the game. But I know how to jam and I do that all the time. I try to play off man because that is what I need the most work on. Games are like practices out there for me."
Bryant finished last season with three interceptions as teams don't challenge him. As a sophomore, he had eight. He currently has 50 scholarship offers and is still keeping an open mind when it comes to recruiting.
"Some of the schools who have offered me that I am thinking about are LSU, Miami, Florida, Florida State, Auburn, Tennessee, Southern Cal, Notre Dame, Georgia and Oklahoma," said Bryant. "I haven't set any visits yet. I will start to narrow my schools down soon, but right now I don't want to rule out anybody."
What kind of interest does Bryant have in Oklahoma?
"I like Oklahoma ," said Bryant. "I love their tradition and they are always one of the top programs. They get players from so many places and no matter if I have heard about those players or not they turn out to be good. Oklahoma is a great program and I just like the program. I have talked to Oklahoma a couple of times and they offered me very early."
Bryant says he currently doesn't have have a top five, nor does he have an idea on where he'll visit.
"I am just looking around and making sure who each team has on their roster at cornerback," said Bryant. "I am making sure the team has good receivers so that I can have good players to practice against. That makes the game a lot easier. I want to make sure that school has a good track program, because I am going to run track there too. I am going to take my visits and keep my options open until signing day or close to signing day. I need to check out the academics at each school and there will be just a lot of little stuff that I have to look into. I will also have to find a defense that will get after you and makes sure that offense knows who owns that field. Whether it is a man or zone defense doesn't really matter to me, because I practice at both."
In track, Bryant runs the 100HH (14.6) and 300HH (38.02). He also runs the second leg on the 4X100 and the anchor leg in the 4X400.