Growing Interest

Darien Bryant began his sophomore season wide receiver, but continued growth and an injury to a teammate pushed him toward the tight end position. That's likely where he will play in college, and his potential is drawing attention. Entering his junior season, the rangy Ohioan is picking up interest from Big East and ACC schools.

"Last year I started out as a receiver, but after the fourth game our tight end got hurt," the well-spoken Bryant told BlueGoldNews.com. "I had played there my freshman year, so I stepped in there and played both positions. It was probably about 60-40 at tight end.

"I feel more like a tight end just because that is what I played and feel comfortable with. After switching last year, I feel more comfortable there, and that's where most schools are looking at me."

Although Bryant doesn't have any offers yet, don't expect that to be the case for long. He has spoken several times with West Virginia assistant coach Steve Dunlap, and is also hearing from Cincinnati and Maryland.

"I've sent out film to some other schools, so I'm waiting to hear from them. But my ultimate dream would be to play at West Virginia. I was born at Ruby Memorial (just across the parking lot from Mountaineer Field) and I lived there for a couple of years before moving to Oklahoma. Many of my relatives are still West Virginia fans, and the majority of my family went to West Virginia. My mom was in the band there, and my grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins all went there. My great grandparents had a house right down from the old stadium. I have been going to games there for a long time, and I'm really serious about wanting to go there."

In between his West Virginia origins and his current home in Ohio, Bryant resided in Norman, Okla., for three years, which explains one of his summer camp destinations. He plans to attend workouts at West Virginia, Cincinnati and Oklahoma, where he hopes to impress coaches with both his blocking and receiving ability, which didn't get much exposure last year.

"We run the triple option, so most of it is blocking, but toward end of year we threw it a little more," Bryant explained. "I caught two passes and had the game-winning TD against Gahanna, so based on that, I think we will throw it some more this year."

At six feet, five inches, Bryant certainly should provide a visible target in the middle of the field. Although he hasn't gotten many passes thrown his way yet, he believes that he has the ability to catch the ball in traffic. He also counts an even keel as one of his best attributes.

"I'm calm when I'm on the field," he amplified. "I do have emotions, and I play hard, but I am able to contain them and stay in control and not take stupid penalties."

Bryant could get moved around some on offense to take advantage of his skills, and could see time as a wingback or flexed out in the slot. His coach has also talked to him about playing some outside linebacker, but as far as college is concerned it looks like tight end is the spot. He still has two seasons of high school football left, but realizes that recruiting is moving to the front burner.

"I've just started thinking about the whole process recently, but it's becoming more realistic," he observed. "I've set up my camp visits, and want to start getting a feeling for what recruiting is all about. Right now, I just need to keep up the hard work. I am still just a sophomore right now, so I know it might be hard to invest a scholarship offer in me just yet. But if I keep working hard, I think they will come."

* * *

Bryant is also a standout hockey player.

"I started out messing around just sliding around on linoleum floors, and I have played in youth leagues in Reynoldsburg since the first grade," he noted. "I have a club team I play on. Most of the play is local, but there is a little bit of travel, too. Hockey helps with my leg strength and footwork, and I think the cold air helps me breathe better, too."

Darien Bryant Profile


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