COVINGTON, Ga -- When the work is done with no
anticipation of recognition or reward, but with passion, that is when the
accolades come. And for Eastside’s Bryant Byrd, who received his first collegiate
offer from Louisiana College recently, the work he’s put in came back to him in a tangible way.
Byrd, a rising senior offensive lineman, wasn’t looking for an offer when he attended Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide Football camp in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He was only looking to get better at his game with some of the NCAA best football coaches.
“When [coach Bryan Jones] first sent me the text offering me, I was shocked at first, but then I got excited,” Byrd said.
The three-day camp hosted by Saban was a non-contact camp for high school football players that focused on individual skill work.
The Crimson Tide coaches were in attendance, but there were other coaches also on hand -- possibly there scouting some of young, burgeoning talent.
“We split up into two groups where you had agility, Alistair type-thing, and then [across the field] you had these drills with coach [Scott] Cochran to improve your running,” Byrd said. "But after all of that, we would go outside and go through these drills, and that was about 40 minutes -- I think It was about five stations. And after that, we would do one-on-one for about 15 minutes.”
The intensity of a full day of workouts is underscored by Byrd’s casual tone, because to the offensive lineman it’s just football; a game he is always prepared to play.
Byrd says he “put all of his effort” into the drills at the camp, utilizing all of the knowledge he has accumulated over the years in football.
The payoff showed up in a major way, but just because he wasn’t looking for an offer from the NCAA Division III school doesn’t mean the moment did warrant necessary celebration.
On the car ride home with his mom and girlfriend, Byrd got the text from Jones – a dangerous situation to receive news of that magnitude – and the excitement ensued.
Byrd had no prior relationship with Jones, so the fact that the Wildcats' running back and O-line coach got his contact information and followed up with an offer says something. It also put Byrd in a mood.
“We cranked up the music after that one,” Byrd said.
As it currently stands, Byrd is the only Eastside offensive lineman to receive a college scholarship offer. But that hasn't stopped his fellow trenchmen from offering up accolades and congratulations. According to Byrd, his teammates are genuinely excited of the news.
“[My teammates] are really happy for me,” Byrd said. "They are just happy I got an offer and have a chance to play at the next level.”
The already hard-working Byrd doesn’t see the offer as any extra motivation entering next season. For Byrd, the work ethic he’s shown speaks for itself, but he does see himself taking it to another level when fall rolls around.
With the new attention from Louisiana College, it is more than likely there will be other suitors for Byrd as the season goes on. As is his way, he says he isn’t watching his phone for any more texts.
“I’m not expecting any more [offers], but I’m going to work towards getting more,” Byrd said. “I’m just going to do what I do and hopefully, whatever God’s plan is I’ll go with it.”