Quiet Bryant makes noise on field for ECU

Published 5:11 pm Monday, August 18, 2008

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
GREENVILLE — Whether it’s by defensive backs or the media, Jamar Bryant is just fine with being overlooked. However, if the East Carolina wideout has another season like last year, he will be awfully hard to ignore.
While admittedly lacking speed, the 6-2, 208-pound receiver didn’t exactly fly under the radar, as much as he ran stealthy 4.4 through it.
Bryant is an enigma. He plays a position that is infamous for producing some of the games best trash-talkers, however, the junior is more than happy to let his play on Saturday’s work as his mouthpiece.
Running back Chris Johnson stole the show last year, as the do-everything back had a record-breaking season for the Pirates racking up a school-best 2,960 all-purpose yards en route to becoming the 24th pick overall in the NFL draft.
As the explosive Johnson accumulated TDs, highlights and fans, the slow-and-steady Bryant collected catches and threw blocks, the latter of which he is more proud of.
Wide receivers have always been the divas of football, just look at T.O. and Chad Johnson. While Bryant shares some traits with Owens, he is more than happy leaving the popcorn exactly where it is.
What often gets overlooked about the loud-mouth Owens is his physicality and his blocking ability, which are facets of the game Bryant prides himself on.
As a sophomore, Bryant led the Pirates in receptions with 48, receiving yards with 704 and his six touchdowns were tied for the team-high.
His 48 catches were the sixth-highest total in team history, while his 704 receiving yards were the 10th best, leading him to be named C-USA honorable mention.
While all that sounds impressive, Bryant could care less. He is a true team-first guy, and though he may block like T.O., he certainly doesn’t talk like him.
Bryant shows up for work everyday with a hard hat, and he doesn’t mind laying it into DBs.
It’s comments like that, that make Kirkpatrick gush when bringing up Bryant’s name.
While Bryant’s play may have been overshadowed last season, Kirkpatrick said he has seen success coming Bryant’s way since the wideout was a freshman.
In his first year with the Pirates, Bryant caught 11 passes in 10 games for 108 yards. Hardly eye-popping numbers. However, his ability was good enough to catch the eye of Kirkpatrick and the rest of the Pirates’ coaching staff.
While Bryant had a solid 2007 season, Kirkpatrick said the next step for the junior is to establish consistency.
Bryant has worked hard in the off season, trying to establish the consistency that his coaches crave for, and at the same time working to improve his speed.
Bryant may never be a burner, but maybe he doesn’t have to be. Jerry Rice, Steve Largent and Art Monk never ran fast 40’s, but yet each has a bust in Canton, Ohio.
Besides, the speedsters get all of the attention, and the communications major is just fine without it.
Bryant said if he never makes it to the League, he would love to direct films, which is a perfect fit for a guy who loves making things happen behind the scenes.