Lineman Bryant plans visits, naming leaders

"It was great, a great experience," Chicago OL Chris Bryant told of a recent Stanford visit. "I definitely loved it out there: the weather, the school, the coaches, the players already on the team."

"Stanford offered me, I'd say around the end of the school year, May," three-star OG/DL Chris Bryant said. "They sent me a lot of mail and everything, and I had chance to meet one of their coaches, so there was decent contact. Then they offered, and then there was more contact.

"I talk to them quite a lot, phone and email a lot, staying in contact a lot, almost every week, mostly with [receivers coach] Pep Hamilton. He's a real cool person. He was with the Bears in the NFL, so he has the experience and knowledge of the game, and off-field, he's a wonderful person. So he's a great person to be around and it's a blessing to know him."

Bryant reports offers from Michigan, home-state Illinois, Stanford, Kansas, Minnesota, Arizona and Memphis and Eastern Michigan. Rich Rodriguez and Michigan were the most recent to offer, about a week ago.

Illinois and Arizona were among the first to offer and, likely not entirely coincidentally, early leaders for Bryant. In our interview this past week, we asked him where those two schools stood now.

"They still stand there," he said. "It's a process, evolving slowly. I haven't made a top list. I'm looking at all schools the same. I am thinking I'm going to narrow down some time soon. But I'm going to take my time looking. It's a lifetime decision.

"I'm going to talk it over with my parents and do a lot of researching in the next month or two, and maybe narrow down to five, I'm guessing."

To paraphrase our favorite Orwell novel, it appears that, for Bryant, some schools are more equal than other schools. For while he may claim to be looking at all schools equally, he does have tentative ideas as to official visits to a select few of those schools.

"I definitely want to get out to Stanford, Illinois and Michigan," he said. "I'm not sure though. Arizona. I'm not sure. But big-time schools."

What, then, might help a candidate school pull away from the pack?

"Academically, definitely, where can it put me?" he said. "After football, I have to have something to fall back on. An alum of a great school, that's another thing I want be a part of. I don't want to go to a school where I don't care. You have to have that feeling in your heart."

Meanwhile though, Bryant is nearing his senior year of high school.

"I'm from the South Side," he said. "I go to Simeon, a public school on the South Side. It was a good choice for me. High school's been a long journey that's gone by pretty quickly. Out here we have 1A to 8A, and we're 8A, the biggest class, so it's quite a few students.

"Football has been pretty good. We haven't made it that far in States, but out here, if you don't make it to States, there's city playoffs with 100 schools, and we won the city championship last year. We lost by two in the state playoffs. It was a good experience still, because we won a championship."

Bryant reports a 3.59 weighted GPA, and discussed his academics with the coaching staff on his trip to the Farm.

"We talked a little about it, but when we talked about it, they knew from my class rank and transcript, they said, basically, I'm on track. It would help for me to take a couple of AP classes to boost my [weighted] GPA, but powerhouse academics like Stanford are as high as you can get.

"I'm going to talk to my counselor to get in and see my schedule and when I can take AP classes. And I may take the ACT again."

After academics, the other side of Bryant's high school experience is football, of course. Most notably, Bryant has played on both sides of the ball, and, unlike many two-way high school stars, is a legit two-way prospect at the college level as well.

"My freshman and sophomore years, I played on the DL, at DT, and then I switched to the OL. A lot of coaches say I look good on the offensive side of ball too, so they want me to switch, so I'm mostly being recruited for offense, but a little for defense. When I go to college, I have a feeling I'll be playing offense, but it's whatever the coach is feeling. Wherever they like me better. Most schools ask where I feel comfortable, where want to play, and then I tell them offense.

"Stanford likes me on both sides of the ball. We had that Monday Night Ball [camp in mid-June]. I did the offense and they liked me on O, and they like me on both. So if that's where I went, I wouldn't know where I'd be playing."

Thus, it's not only his 6-foot-5, 330-pound frame that makes Bryant a big piece of Stanford's 2011 recruiting puzzle. The coaches know that, depending on what happens in the years to come, they have an athlete who could project to either side of the ball, and that versatility has to make him that much more attractive as a recruit.

Stay tuned to The Bootleg for all the latest on Bryant as he narrows down his schools!

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