It’s 45 days to K-State football and the kick-off against North Dakota State, which can only mean one thing: our preview of Marquel Bryant? Marquel Who?, you ask? Well go ahead and read up now, because your friends will be asking the same when conference play rolls around and he already has two sacks on the season. And when they do inquire, you be sure to point them to The Jug for some education.
Bryant didn’t see a lot of playing time last year at the defensive end position. That’s what happens you play behind two seniors that were picked up by NFL teams in the spring (Meshak Williams to the Baltimore Ravens and Adam Davis by the New England Patriots). However, Bryant was able to put in some work as a redshirt freshman. He appeared in five games and recorded three tackles. He was a teammate of K-State linebacker Mike Moore at Texas powerhouse Skyline and is the cousin of Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant.
Bryant was not highly recruited as a two-star defensive end according to Rivals, although he did receive scholarship offers from Kentucky, UTEP, SMU, and Colorado State. ESPN rated him a bit higher, giving him three stars and ranking him the 143rd best DE in the nation and the 196th best player in the State of Texas. Part of the knock on Bryant was his size – he has okay height at 6’3″ but only weighed 215 pounds when he arrived on campus. Yet after two years in the weight room he has grown up to a playing weight of 240 pounds.
Bryant is still a little undersized, and could be a slight liability against the run. However, K-State’s weakside defensive end in 2012 was considered undersized too. Meshak Williams finished with 10.5 sacks on the year. Bryant looks to step up at the weakside slot in 2013 and brings the speed and motor to harass David Ash (or Case McCoy if Ash is knocked out of the game again this season) when he opens conference play against Texas. He played on the Purple Squad (first team) during the spring game and finished fifth in tackles with four solo and one assist, plus a pass break up.
Bryant started the spring game, while Ryan Mueller, Alauna Finau, and Laton Dowling also saw time at defensive end with the Purple Squad. He recorded the first tackle of the game and then recorded another on the first drive, both of which bottled up running back Charles Jones for one-yard gains. He was also used on special teams and covered kick-offs. At the moment, Finau (a senior), and Mueller (a junior), are anticipated to headline as starters this year while Dowling sees time as a reserve. However, Bryant still has place on this team. So mark it down now – Bryant is good for four sacks on the year, and I promise to revisit this come December.
To work backwards in our countdown, visit Day 46, where we preview longsnapper Dalton Converse.