James Bryant

When the best group of linebackers were taken into a separate drill at last year's University of Miami camp, three players really stood out. Two of them (Ali Highsmith and Leo Waiters) later signed with Miami but the player voted top linebacker in that group is still in high school.

At 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds, Reading, Pa. standout James Bryant is now one of the nation's most heavily recruited linebackers.

Bryant, who will play both ways this season (fullback on offense), kicked off practice earlier this week before a minor setback.

"We started this week but yesterday I got poked in the eye and I wasn't able to go," Bryant said. "I got it checked out today and everything's straight. I'm ready to go."

Bryant, who is a full academic qualifier with a 2.8 GPA and 1100 SAT score, also plays basketball and runs track (shot put and 100m events).

The talented linebacker talked more about the recruiting process.

"It's funny, I'm actually staring at the plaque that I won at Miami last summer," he said. "It's signed by Larry Coker. It's a friendly reminder. I've got between 35 and 40 offers but Miami isn't one of them yet."

Bryant, who said Pittsburgh was the first school to offer him as a junior, rattled off the names of several of the top programs who have offered in addition to the Panthers.

"Virginia Tech, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Iowa, Boston College, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Notre Dame, LSU, West Virginia, Nebraska, Rutgers, and Maryland," he said in a span of about 10 seconds. "But I really don't have a top five or anything like that. I don't even know where I'm going to visit yet. All I know is they'll all be after football season."

Bryant does have one day marked on his calendar.

"Miami plays at Pitt on November 21," he said. "I'll be there. I can't wait."

The standout defender talked more about the Hurricanes.

"I've been communicating with Mr. Kehoe," he said. "I'm supposed to call him this week and see what's up. He said they were getting close to offering so I think it'll only be a matter of time before they do."

Bryant has been able to learn more about the Hurricanes in recent days.

"I just got their book (media guide, which is sent out to all the top prospects, as permitted by the NCAA) and I was reading it," he said. "Their depth chart is a little thick but I don't care about any of that. That stuff shouldn't matter and it doesn't to me. As long as I'm given a chance, I'll beat out anyone you put in front of me as long as he's close to my age. I won't back down from anyone and I know Miami's got some real good ones."

Bryant said he's definitely interested in the Hurricanes.

"I'm definitely interested in them," he said. "Like I said, I don't have a favorite or anything but I'm looking at them hard right now."

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