MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. — Consensus college football All-American. Mackey Award winner. National Football League draft selection?
The third is a title John Milledge Academy alum Harrison Bryant (JMA Class of ’16) hopes to soon add to his already very impressive football resumé.
Bryant, a tight end, is one of the many now former college student-athletes who will be listening for his name to be called during the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft that runs Thursday through Saturday. If selected, Bryant would be the first draftee to have played his high school ball in Milledgeville since Baldwin High School’s Maurice Hurt was taken in the seventh round back in 2011. Others in that company include LeRoy Hill, Earnest Byner and Bryant’s high school head coach at JMA, J.T. Wall.
Bryant, a native of nearby Gray, improved every year in college playing at Florida Atlantic University. In his fourth and final season as an Owl, Bryant caught 65 passes for just over 1,000 yards and scored seven touchdowns, doubling his reception total from just two years prior. His collegiate career culminated in being named a consensus First Team All-American on top of receiving the John Mackey Award, the honor given to the top tight end in all of major college football. He was the first player in FAU program history to receive such recognition, and he took that momentum into the postseason when he was invited to play in the 2020 Senior Bowl and later attend the NFL Draft Combine held in Indianapolis. In both places, prospects are given the opportunity to show their skills to NFL scouts in the lead-up to the draft.
As for projections for Bryant’s selection, the 6-foot, 5-inch tall tight end has been slated as a second or third day pick by most draft analysts. Former NFL scout now NFL.com draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah has Bryant as his 71st-rated player right behind a name familiar to all University of Georgia football fans, former Bulldog quarterback Jake Fromm. Jeremiah ranks only two tight ends ahead of Bryant in his list released Monday, Notre Dame’s Cole Kmet (41st) and Dayton’s Adam Trautman (68th). Jeremiah’s rankings are just that, and are not meant to predict where a player will be taken. For example, he has Ohio State edge rusher Chase Young as his top overall player, but many expect the Cincinnati Bengals, who own the first pick in the draft, to choose LSU quarterback Joe Burrow based on their team needs.
The first round of the 2020 NFL Draft is slated for Thursday at 8 p.m. Rounds 2 and 3 will take place Friday beginning at 7 p.m. while the remaining Rounds 4-7 will play themselves out starting noon Saturday. The proceedings will look very different from years past as league and team officials will hold the draft via teleconference due to shelter-in-place orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.