June 26, 2009

Edwards has Bryant thinking about Vols

Christian Bryant boasts no less than a dozen scholarship offers, is a member of the Rivals.com 250 and stars for one of the nation's premiere prep programs -- Glenville Academic Campus in Cleveland, Ohio.

And while he's had a modest summer camping recently at Ball State and beginning today at Ohio State, Bryant has found himself listening to the sales pitch of a former teammate -- Mike Edwards -- about where he should play his college football.

"All I know is what Mike has told me," said the gifted, 5-foot-10-inch, 173-pound Bryant, who's rated the No. 12 cornerback, of his former teammate and 2009 UT signee. "He told me it's a great environment, the facilities are good and the coaching staff is real good. So that's what I'm basing what I like about Tennessee on."

Bryant, who expects to conclude his summer camp work with this weekend's advanced camp in Columbus, has focused his summer efforts on improving his strength. His other physical skills �" a 4.46 40-yard dash, 34-inch vertical leap and 4.18 shuttle run �" already are quite impressive.

"I really am just trying to be in the weight room a lot to get stronger and bigger," said Bryant, who also excels in the classroom with a 3.25 GPA. "I talked to my cousin (Eric), and he told me, 'Don't look at what college players are doing, look at what NFL players are doing. Perect your craft.' Those are words of real inspiration for me."

Additionally, Bryant is focusing on blanketing receivers as he heads into his senior season under coach Ted Ginn Sr.. Asked for his strengths, Bryant gives a self-scouting report and acknowledges unabashedly lofty goals.

"I would say my vision because I can read a play before in the pre-snap read throughout film study, and I think my covering skills have really improved," he said. "At the Ball State camp, they said I was the best player they had seen thus far. That was a real emotion booster for me.

"And from talking to coach Ginn, he's told me he sees my covering skills enhancing every day. I'm trying to be one of the top candidates for the best corner in the country. That's really what I'm banking on right now."

Aside from working out, Bryant talks regularly with Edwards, who generated a spectacular senior season and was regarded as one of Ohio's top five prospects according to experts when he inked as part of Lane Kiffin's inaugural signing class.

"Me and Mike probably talk every week," Bryant said. "I saw him almost every day this week because he's been at our practices."

Edwards likely will have several more months to relate his experiences at UT to his friend and former teammate. Bryant doesn't expect a decision before the season and seemed intrigued about taking an official visit to Tennessee but indicated he hasn't planned that far in advance.

"I'll probably make my decision sometime after the football season," said Bryant. "I'm really just looking at the coaching staff and how I fit into the defense. The environment of the school and academics. I just want to go to place where I know I can get help if I need it academically."

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