Expanding Horizons

With several offers on one side of the ball already in his possession, this Ohio standout recently received his first scholarship tender on the flip side of the line of scrimmage.

Darien Bryant should be no stranger to those who follow West Virginia's football recruiting. He has visited the WVU campus on several occasions, taking in games and participating in camps as he progressed through his high school career. That process took another step forward last weekend, as the two-way athlete received an offer from the Mountaineers.

"They offered me on defense," the well-spoken Bryant confirmed. "That's the first offer I have on defense. The other offers I have are all on offense, at tight end. West Virginia said they liked the week-to-week improvement I have shown on defense, and they think I can be a very good player there."

As a guy that has been focused on offense for most of his career, Bryant has played both wide receiver, and, as he has grown, tight end. Now at 6-4 and 220 pounds, he's being used at both spots on offense, but has also seen his play expand to defensive end, where his high school coaches believed he could have an impact.

"It's been good," he said of the added duties. "I've mostly been working on fundamentals, and learning as much as I can about playing defensive end. I started out with the basics, because it was new to me, but I'll also work on what we might be facing that week. If we are playing a passing team, I'll work a little more on pass rush moves.

"It means more time on the field, so that has been good, too," Bryant continued. "I had been thinking mostly about being an offensive player, but this is something I will think about. I haven't been doing as much in recruiting since the season started, because I wanted to concentrate on my senior year, but it is starting to pick back up now."

Bryant has offers from a number of schools, but four major ones might be just a bit ahead of the pack right now. Maryland, Duke and Nebraska, which have all offered him as a tight end, are strong contenders, but he also has offers from Kansas as well as several MAC schools. North Carolina has also recently jumped into the mix, and it would not be a surprise to see more make a late pitch for his services.

Those that do will have to make their case in a hurry, as Bryant is on track to graduate in December and enroll at his college of choice for the spring semester.

"I have completed all of my classes, and I'm just waiting for the final approval on everything I've taken so that I can enroll," he explained. "I'll be doing a lot more with recruiting as soon as my season is over, and I probably won't commit until them."

Bryant noted in a recent interview with Scout.com that he wants to be sure he considers all of his options.

"I really don't have any idea when I'll decide. I'd like to take as many officials as I can before I do anything. But I really can't say right now, I haven't even taken one official yet. This is such a big decision, if I don't take four or five (official visits), I could be hurting myself down the road."

That process may be delayed a bit, as Bryant's Pickerington North team is 6-3, with a good chance to make the playoffs. Even though he might have just five or six weeks to make visits, gather information and make his call, he won't let that rush him. The offer from West Virginia, as a defender, just adds another factor for him to consider.

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