Red Bryant (DT)
One of the terms used to describe a defensive lineman is that the player is an efficient "run stuffer." Perhaps no one player has been more important to his team in shutting down the opposition's running game than Joseph "Red" Bryant.
In the eight games that he appeared in for the Aggies in 2006, they allowed just 75.35 yards per game on the ground. In the five contests Bryant sat out due to a knee injury, TAMU was tagged for 229.2 yards per game rushing.
Selected one of the squad captains as a redshirt freshman, Bryant has dominated vs. the run since he first start in College Station. In three seasons in the middle of the Aggies' defense, Bryant has made 83 plays vs. the run, holding the opposition to only 46 yards (0.55 yards per attempt).
As a sophomore, he was a force, making 31 running plays that saw his opponent be held to an incredible minus-27 yards (minus-0.87-yard average). He followed that performance with 19 running plays for 12 yards (0.63-yard average) during his injury-shortened junior year.
At Jasper High School, Bryant earned first-team 3A All-State honors from the Texas Sports Writers Association and was one of eight finalists for the Willie Ray Smith Award, presented to the top offensive and defensive players in Southeast Texas. The consensus Texas Top 100 recruit added District and Golden Triangle Defensive Most Valuable Player honors during his senior season.
Bryant was the recipient of the 2001 District Defensive Player of the Year Award and was named the Southeast Texas Defensive Player of the Year by the Beaumont Enterprise. In addition to starring on the gridiron, Red also was a standout forward on the school's basketball team.
Bryant enrolled at Texas A&M in 2003, competing on the scout team, earning that squad's Defensive Work MVP accolades. He was a "4x4" performer during the team's 2004 off-season conditioning program, tying the school record in the hang clean (385 pounds, but has since set a new mark at 407 pounds). He was so well-respected by his teammates that he was named to the Leadership Council and served as game captain in his first year with the varsity.
In 2004, Bryant took over nose tackle duties, starting all 12 contests. He earned Freshman All-American and All-Big Twelve Conference honors from The Gridiron Report, as he totaled 34 tackles (nine solo) with an assisted sack, 3 1/2 stops behind the line of scrimmage and three quarterback pressures. He also deflected two passes and blocked a kick. In 33 plays vs. the run, the opposition managed just 61 yards (1.85 yards per carry) vs. Bryant.
Bryant added All-Big Twelve Conference first-team and All-American third-team honors from The NFL Draft Report in 2005. He recorded just 30 tackles (eight solo) with three sacks, 8 1/2 stops for losses and a pressure, but also caused two fumbles and deflected a pass. It was his dominance vs. the run that stood out. In 31 running plays, he held the opposition to minus-27 yards (minus-0.87-yard average). What makes that figure even more impressive was the fact that the rest of the Aggies' defense struggled. TAMU allowed 139.18 yards per game on the ground and ranked 107th in the nation, giving up 443.82 yards in total offense per game.
The team's permanent captain proved what a leadership was all about in 2006. He again manhandled the opposition in the trenches as a junior, making 19 plays vs. the run that netted the opposition just 12 yards (0.63-yard average). He made a valiant effort to play with an anterior cruciate ligament tear in his right knee, but he agreed to have surgery prior to the Texas game.
In nine games, he had 19 tackles (seven solo), a sack, 2 1/2 stops behind the line of scrimmage, five pass deflections and a blocked kick. With Bryant sidelined, the team gave up 229.2 yards per game on the ground in their final five contests. However, thanks to his stellar play in the first nine games, the Aggies' defense showed marked improvement, allowing 322.62 yards per game in total offense, compared to 443.82 yards the previous season.
Back on the playing field in 2007, Bryant continued his dominance vs. the run, as he allowed 43 yards on 42 plays directed at him (team gave up 1,491 yards on the ground) in the team's first 10 games. He recorded 41 tackles (11 solo) with an 11-yard sack, six stops for losses of 19 yards and seven quarterback pressures. He also registered a safety on his only QB sack, blocked a field goal and caused a fumble that set up an A&M touchdown drive.
In 42 games at Texas A&M, Bryant started 41 games. He recorded 124 tackles (37 solo) with 6 1/2 sacks for minus-53 yards, 20 1/2 stops for losses of 92 yards and 12 quarterback pressures. He caused three fumbles, deflected nine passes, blocked three kicks and recorded a safety.
Attended Jasper (Tex.) High School, playing football for head coach Danny Lauve...Earned first-team 3A All-State honors from the Texas Sports Writers Association and was one of eight finalists for the Willie Ray Smith Award, presented to the top offensive and defensive players in Southeast Texas...Consensus Texas Top 100 recruit, adding District and Golden Triangle Defensive Most Valuable Player honors during his senior season...Recipient of the 2001 District Defensive Player of the Year Award and was named the Southeast Texas Defensive Player of the Year by the Beaumont Enterprise...In addition to starring on the gridiron, Bryant also was a standout forward on the school's basketball team.
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Positives: Has a well-proportioned, thick and muscular frame that has room for further growth development without having the additional weight impact his impressive quickness...Has long arms, adequate hand size, thick thighs and calves, showing solid muscle tone throughout, especially in his broad shoulders...With his wide hips and thick lower body, it is very tough for blockers to gain movement off the snap vs. him...Shows keen awareness to the play developing...More of a run-containment type, but has the savvy and agility to slip blocks and wreak havoc in the backfield...Quick to find the football in pursuit and is not the type that will bite on play action or misdirection...Was called the team's "most important player" by the coaching staff, as they use his hard work as an example for the younger players to follow...Clocked at 4.95 in the 40-yard dash, he carries his equipment well and, by keeping his pads down and hands within his frame, he generates good movement off the snap...Can surprise a lethargic blocker and slip past double teams with his burst, showing the strength needed to get a good push off his man...Excels at neutralizing multiple blockers and has that hip shake you want when trying to execute counter moves (this allows a teammate to be free to make the play)....Quick to fill the rush lane and shows good creativity and spin moves shooting the gaps...Very combative with his hands and has the strength to shock and control an opponent when he locks on...Shows good power in attempts to disengage and is quite nimble when attacking the backfield...Type that demands constant double-team attention from his opponent, as he is very hard to move off the line...When he plants his feet and settles in for a battle, he uses his low center of gravity to gain leverage and he keeps his feet free, demonstrating very effective two-gap potential...His quick arm-over action and upper-body strength let him consistently beat his blocker off the snap...Keeps his hands active, even in tight quarter, staying within his frame to do a nice job of protecting his body from cut blocks...Has very good strength behind his hits and is an efficient wrap-up tackler with the long arms to engulf the perimeter runners....Demonstrates the lateral agility to push the outside running game back inside and the field vision to quickly locate the cutback lanes...Because of his wide frame and brute strength, when he makes a collision tackle, he instantly stops the ballcarrier's momentum -- will generally attack the runner's outside leg to impede forward progress...In 125 running plays directed at him, opponents managed to gain just 89 yards (0.71 yards per carry)...Immovable object at the point of attack and is quick to hunker down and fill the rush lanes...Has the short-area burst to close in a hurry and comes out of his stance with his hands ready to lock on, control and shed his blockers...Quick to stack at the point of attack and uses his low center of gravity and strength to gain leverage and hold his ground firmly...Best when playing over the center's head or giving a good arm-over action to gain advantage over the outside shoulder of the guards in attempts to apply pressure...Tough to defend in the short area when moving down the line and is very conscious of low blocks and how to avoid them...Knows how to time his leaps to get his fair share of pass deflections at the line of scrimmage...Alert for angle blocks and traps, using his hands effectively to counter.
Negatives: Diagnosed with dyslexia, but has overcome the issue and does well both academically and in retaining plays...Will short-arm at times, but stays after the blocker when doing so, using his body lean to get a push...Has good pursuit ability in the short area, but despite his timed speed, he will labor at times when running long distances...In long pursuit, he will get a bit high in his stance and narrow his base. When this happens, he fails to keep his feet free and while he can get over trash, he will get a little out of control...There is no leakage when working inside, but he will get a little out of control and miss tackles when operating in space...Has the speed to close, but must develop more pass-rush moves to become a threat...Uses mostly swim and rip moves, but with his hand strength, he should be more efficient when trying to club...Shows good agility squeezing the pocket, but when he gets narrow in his base coming off the edge, blockers can have some success forcing him out.
Compares To: CASEY HAMPTON-Pittsburgh...Bryant is bigger, faster and stronger than Hampton, but both play with great anticipation and short-area explosion to dominate vs. the run. Bryant is very good at neutralizing double teams and has few peers when it comers to shutting down the inside running game. He is a tireless worker in the trenches who has not been used much as a pass rusher, but with his speed, lateral agility and strength, he could develop nicely there if a patient coaching staff teaches him proper technique. Whether in a 3-4 as a nose guard or in a 4-3 alignment as a defensive tackle, few blockers at the professional level will have success containing him.
2006: Sat out the Baylor game after he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee vs. Oklahoma State, but returned the following week vs. Oklahoma. Underwent surgery to repair knee damage on Nov. 17, missing the Aggies' final games vs. Nebraska, Texas and California.
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Q & A
- Growing up, who was your favorite NFL player and why?
- Reggie White. I wanted to be just like him (what he stood for).
- In college, what player hit you the hardest? Who was the recipient of your best hit?
- N/A; Cedric Benson and Adrian Peterson
- What TV-show marathon will keep you on the couch all day?
- What celebrity would play you in the movie version of your life and why?
- Anthony Henderson. Everyone thinks we both make people laugh.
- What is one thing your teammates don't know about you?
- That I like to play card games.
- What's your proudest moment in football? Proudest moment off the field?
- Beating Texas at home my senior year; Getting engaged
- When you play Madden, what team do you use? Do you put yourself on the team?
- Cowboys; No.
- Who has been the biggest influence on your football career and how?
- Terrence Murphy. He taught me how to work hard (when no one's looking) and watch film.