2011 Recruiting: Chris Bryant

Submitted by Brian on August 17th, 2011 at 2:54 PM

Previously: CB Greg Brown, CB/S Tamani Carter, CB Blake Countess, CB Delonte Hollowell, CB Raymon Taylor, LB Antonio Poole, LB Desmond Morgan, LB Frank Clark, LB Kellen Jones, DE Keith Heitzman, DE Chris Rock, DE Brennen Beyer, OL Jack Miller, OL Tony Posada, and RB Thomas Rawls.

       
Chicago, IL - 6'4" 340
       

chris-bryant-hat

Scout 3*, #21 OG
Rivals 4*, #203 overall, #19 OT
ESPN 3*, 77, #37 OG
Others 247: 3*, 89, NR
Other Suitors Illinois, Stanford, Arizona, Ohio State(-ish)
YMRMFSPA Also Alex Mitchell
Previously On MGoBlog Commitment post from Tim. Tom interviewed him in January, again just before his commitment, and just before his arrival in June,
Notes Former teammate of 2012 OT target Jordan Diamond

Film

Oddly, his highlight film has embedding turned off. So does "Meet Big Chris," which is just a slideshow. It does have a picture of Bryant with Derrick Rose, if that's your thing.

Chris Bryant is the second mauling, pile-pushing guard Rich Rodriguez acquired just in time for Brady Hoke to clap his hands together and go "wheee" at the prospect of turning opposing linemen into damp smears. Okay, Rodriguez didn't quite seal the deal, but this was a JT Floyd situation: by the time the new guy had set up digs Michigan had been the heavy leader for so long that the actual commitment was a foregone conclusion.

I was under the impression Bryant was a better-regarded recruit than he actually ended up. This is probably because of my bias towards Rivals's software (this year conclusively demonstrates that Scout's rankings are superior). Rivals has him a member of their top 250; other sites offer just three stars. His offers were similarly kind of eh: despite a number of camp performances his best other offers were from Illinois and Arizona. Ohio State was on the verge of offering for seemingly half the recruiting year but never did end up pulling the trigger.

That's not too surprising given the scouting reports. They paint a picture of an enormous, enormously strong guy with questionable technique and a bit of a weight issue. Bryant's ceiling is high, but his risk of flaming out is similarly high. Specifics from ESPN($):

Bryant is a raw talent with very good upper body playing strength, flashing the ability to dominate defenders. Has the size for the offensive guard position at the major level of competition however his body mass will need to be redistributed through off season conditioning. … Can come off the ball low and hard but more often his initial fit and pad level are high; needs to improve his ability to play low coming off the ball however once he gets his hands on defenders the results can result in pancake blocks. This player could have problems with active 1st and 2nd level defenders unless his initial quickness and pad level improve. ... We like the aggressive finishing attitude this guy brings to the game, it's what we like to see from offensive linemen.

Scout echoes, with an addendum that they believe he's coachable:

STRENGTHS

Feet

Intelligence

Power And Strength

AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT

Technique

Big bodied lineman who can move well for a kid his size. Smart, and takes to coaching quickly. Has great power and strength. When he gets his hands on someone, he usually wins. He has exceptional punch and can knock defenders off balance easily. He still is somewhat raw with his hand placement and technique, and is a tad top heavy, but has a ton of raw ability, and the type of aggressive, hard working attitude you want in a lineman. - Allen Trieu

Elsewhere Trieu says he's "very strong, but raw" and "picked up techniques quickly" at camps. After improving "each and every time out" over the summer he was a candidate to move up to four stars. Obviously, he didn't.

The Michigan Showcase was one of those camps, and Scout came back with an epic amount of scouting. Here's a freebie from a couple of their Ohio guys:

He moves well for a kid his size. He's athletic, has good feet and what I really liked was that he took to the coaching and worked hard from start to finish. The coaches were really getting on him to use his punch and after that, that's when we saw his power and ability to just stone defensive linemen. He still needs more of that technical work, but he picks it all up really fast and when combined with his physical tools, he has a chance to be a really good college lineman.

Again there are some technique and weight concerns. Trieu much the same in a News article with some extra emphasis on his coachability.

A couple months later he hit up another camp that Sam Webb reported back from, saying it looked like he'd taken off a few pounds and that he'd gotten a lot better($) since the last time people had seen him:

It was his pass blocking that scouts wanted to see improve. It’s easy to see that it has. Bryant showed better lateral quickness, was more adept at opening his hips in order to prevent rushers from getting around the edge, and possesses a devastating punch. He still lunges at times and can get caught off balance, but his technique is clearly improving.

Touch The Banner says the usual bit about his weight and then gets into a couple of important positives:

The bottom line is that Bryant is a very powerful kid. … When you watch Bryant's film, it's evident that he plows over defensive linemen. He's the type of lineman that demoralizes you by blocking you into the ground and then hitting you again and again when you try to get up. Eventually players just bide their time until the whistle blows. He's not quite to the level of Taylor Lewan in nastiness, but he's pretty close.

The thing I like most about Bryant, though, is his footwork. For such a big kid, he moves his feet superbly. Unlike fellow class of 2011 behemoth Aundrey Walker, Bryant keeps his feet moving throughout the play. Whereas Walker gives opponents a shove or two and expects them to give up, which they often do, Bryant drives his man or keeps his feet moving laterally in short, choppy steps. (Bonus: I ranked Bryant just ahead of Walker and just behind recent USC commit Cyrus Hobbi back in January.) His excellent footwork and potentially overwhelming size and strength should turn him into an excellent offensive lineman at Michigan.

There are always injury and motivation risks when talking about a guy Bryant's size but the good camp performances and consistent reports he is a high character, coachable kid mitigate those. He should spend the next couple years slimming down and getting that power even more powerful before debuting as the first of a generation of pulling road graders in two years. Hopefully this coach quote

“He was incredible in the things he was doing out there,” Simeon coach Dante Culbreath said of his Bryant’s season. “He was dominant out there.”

…will be something we're saying by that point. Hoke will say he needs work.

Etc.: I have no comment on the two comments on this random blog post. Random exchange from a CU message board:

6-5 330lbs.? Wow, what are they putting in the Chicago water supply?

calories

Visited for the Big Chill.

Why also Alex Mitchell? Bryant isn't Posada but they are the same genre of player: 6'4" monster guards. Mitchell is the recent Michigan prototype for those guys, displaying both the promise—he started early and played pretty well—and danger—left the team out of shape—of those sorts. Hoke's Michigan won't beg him back if he won't put the effort in, at least.

I like Bryant better than Posada because his agility is reputed to be better, he's the size everyone expected he'd be, and his recruiting rankings are significantly better.

Guru Reliability: Moderate. Guy was healthy but there's a mismatch between the scouting reports and ratings; there's also a wide spread in the ratings themselves.

General Excitement Level: High. Bryant is the same weight as Posada but escapes the ding because everyone knew that going in. He's going to be in an offense that suits his talents and just needs to work on his technique and endurance; he's already got the strength. TTB's two main assets—nastiness and feet—are especially encouraging.

Projection: While Michigan's lack of depth on the line might force Bryant to forgo a redshirt, they've still got two or three options (Schofield, Khoury, Mealer) before they'd be forced into that. Severe injury issues on the interior will see Huyge move inside so it will take at least two and probably three injuries before they take the redshirt off.

If that doesn't happen, he gets the redshirt. The following year will be status quo minus Khoury, the presumed starting center. In 2013 he'll be a considerable favorite to win a starting job once Omameh and Barnum graduate.

Comments

Hannibal.

August 17th, 2011 at 4:22 PM ^

When was his last weigh-in?  It's possible to lose the bad weight that he needs to lose fairly fast under intense training.  Whether he has the willpower to do it is another question. 

rockydude

August 17th, 2011 at 4:50 PM ^

While we are all having fun talking about newcomers such as Kalis, and possibly Garnett or Diamond, Bryant is one to be reckoned with. It seems like every report on him mentions two things, his temperament and his punch. The nasty temperament is a necessity, but I really think that the consistency with which his punch is mentioned is a good thing.

It seems like the big knock is that his technique is not yet refined, and sometimes he can basically swing and miss, but everyone seems to agree that when he hits you, you stay hit. Also, everyone consistently mentions his strength, and this is before he has even had the benefits of a major college strength and diet program. 

Imagine how strong he can get if he dedicates himself to working with Coach Wellman and takes his diet seriously. 

Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing some run blocking, and I think this is one of the guys that is going to get it done for us . . . 

WestSider

August 17th, 2011 at 6:34 PM ^

concern about his 'willpower' to lose weight, learn technique, etc. His nasty, finishing, hit 'em again and again so they can't get up attitude says it all. I'm going to love watching him.

WolvinLA2

August 17th, 2011 at 7:38 PM ^

I agree, and I'm not sure how much weight he really needs to lose.  I saw videos of him as a recruit where he was probably 325 or 330 and the kid could move.  He'll probably turn some of that bad weight into good weight over the next year, but as long as he can move and stay moving for a whole game, we're good.

I envision an OL with 335lb OG Bryant next to 330lb OT Braden and running in their direction.  They could open up some big holes.

Blue boy johnson

August 17th, 2011 at 7:55 PM ^

Remember just a few short months ago when people were aghast over losing Jake Fisher and Anthony Zettel? With the way Hoke and Co.have shown the can recruit, Those two fine young gents are but a distant fading memory. It has been an amazing amazing transformation and a big part of it is Hoke and his leaning on the tremendous tradition at his disposal at Michigan.

Braden and Bryant could be the "weak links" of M future offensive line, kinda like when Jon Jansen was the weak link of another stellar offensive line at Michigan