It hasn’t taken long for a local football product to get noticed at the professional level.
Harrison Bryant, a Class of 2016 John Milledge Academy graduate and 2020 Cleveland Browns draft pick at tight end, is making a name for himself at his team’s training camp in Berea, Ohio. He’s been highlighted in multiple Cleveland media outlets’ camp reports and featured in a video on the team’s Twitter feed for making a nice diving catch at practice. Much of this notoriety has come just in the last week. Some headlines from recent days include “TE Harrison Bryant is turning heads at Browns training camp” on the Browns Nation website and “Harrison Bryant has a strong day” on cleveland.com for his back-to-back touchdown receptions during team red zone reps.
This attention shouldn’t come as much of a surprise since Bryant was named college football’s best tight end last season after totaling 65 receptions for 1,004 yards and seven touchdowns for Florida Atlantic University. The Gray, Ga. native did fall a little further in the draft than expected as he went 115th overall in the fourth round back in April. His high school head coach JT Wall, who has his own NFL experience, told The Union-Recorder after Bryant was drafted that slippage would serve as a great motivator.
“He’s been undervalued before, and it puts a chip on your shoulder,” said Wall. “Great athletes oftentimes need ammunition to remain great athletes, and he’s got all the ammunition he needs right now.”
Bryant is one of five tight ends currently on the Cleveland Browns’ roster. At 6-5, 243 pounds, he’s right in line with his position counterparts height-wise, but is on the lighter side when it comes to weight. What the former John Milledge Trojan does have working for him though is his versatility as he can line up on the outside like a wide receiver where he can create mismatches against smaller defensive backs or slower linebackers. Also don’t forget that Bryant only really became a tight end his senior year of high school after having been an offensive tackle and defensive lineman previously. Two smooth tackle-eligible touchdown receptions his junior year helped Coach Wall make the decision to move Bryant to tight end in 2015, a change that has paid off handsomely for the player.
Others in Cleveland's tight end room include free agent pickup Austin Hooper (formerly an Atlanta Falcon), 2017 first-round pick David Njoku, third-year player Pharaoh Brown and second-year player Stephen Carlson.
Most NFL teams carry three tight ends on their active gameday rosters, though the Browns may keep more since head coach Kevin Stefanski is known as someone who likes to utilize the position more than most.
Fans likely would have gotten a look at Bryant in game action during the 2020 preseason, but those games were canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Browns are scheduled to kick off their 2020 regular season Sept. 13 with what should be a tough test at Baltimore.