Proving Ground

For players like Brashear High School's Quamane Bryant, summer camps at Division I football powers are the ultimate proving ground.

Bryant, who is an excellent high school cornerback, has to fight to overcome the perception that he might be too small to play at the top levels of college football. Standing five feet, nine inches and weighing somewhere south of 160 pounds, the slender corner is constantly battling questions about his size.

Give the Brashear star credit however -- he doesn't let those characterizations get him down. In fact, he uses them as motivation to show those evaluating him that a good player doesn't necessarily have to come in a big package. He did just that at West Virginia's rising senior camp on June 10.

I just have to go out there and cover the bigger receivers," said Bryant as he listed the things he does to overcome any negative perceptions. "I try to cover some of the bigger guys, and I thought I did that well at the camp. I know I have to show that I can defend the deep ball well. I want to work and improve on my vertical jump, too."

Bryant, who worked as both a defensive back and a wide receiver at the camp, put on a solid showing. He covered all manner of receivers from his cornerback position, and also took some turns as a wideout, showing soft hands in a variety of pass catching drills. He capped off his day on defense with a p-ass breakup and an interception.

"I think I did well," said Bryant, who holds an offer from Ohio University but is hoping to earn more from some BCS schools, including West Virginia. "I did pretty good. I thought I played up to my potential. My coach and father were there and they said I did well, too."

Bryant is used to having extra eyes watching him, but isn't bothered by the extra attention.

"My dad is at every event," he said. "I don't think he's ever missed one for me, whether it's a camp, or a practice or whatever. So I am used to having him around. I take pressure well, and I wouldn't even call it pressure. It's really more like motiviation, and I take that as a good thing."

Bryant used his time at the camp well, picking up a few new techniques and refinements on both sides of the ball.

"I learned some new things at the receiver spot. Going through the drills helped with that. Then I switched back and got the interception. I want to play defense in college, but it deffintely helps to play wide receiver. You can see how they do things, how they get off the ball, then use that when you are playing defense."

In addition to the offer from Ohio, Bryant lists West Virginia, Rutgers, Georgia Tech, Iowa and Akron as his favorites. An offer from any of those schools would likely move them up the list. Bryant confirmed that he and teammates Jermaine Robinson and Ed Tinker would like to go to school together, and that an offer from West Virgina could make that desire a reality.

"Coach Gibson said I did a good job, and he told me he would be talking to me soon," said Bryant, who showed good footwork and quick reaction times at the camp.

While Bryant waits to hear from WVU, he will continue a busy summer camp season that will include visits to Maryland, Ohio, Akron as well as a return trip to West Virginia. On those trips, which he makes in the company of Tinker and Robinson, he tries to avoid squaring off against his teammates.

"We don't want to go against each other, but sometimes that happens and I have to cover Tink," said Bryant. "And Jermaine and I, both being defensive backs, sometimes have a little contest to see how many pass breakups and interceptions we can get."

Should a West Virginia offer be forthcoming, that competition could continue for the next four or five years.

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