Steelers 2014 NFL Draft Player Profiles – Clemson WR Martavis Bryant
Good friend Dave-Te’ Thomas of Scouting Services has finished his player profiles of several of the top 2014 NFL Draft prospects and over the course of the next few weeks I will be posting the ones that the Pittsburgh Steelers will more than likely have interest in. Being as Clemson wide receiver Martavis Bryant was in for a pre draft visit recently, now is a good time to post his. Thomas has done these profiles for the NFL for several years and I know that many of you enjoy reading them.
Clemson University Tigers
Calhoun Falls, South Carolina
Hargrave Military Academy
T.L. Hanna High School
While split end Sammy Watkins garnered most of the media attention during the Tigers pair of receivers three seasons together, Bryant never seemed to mind much about not being in the limelight. Bryant never came close to matching his teammates’ lofty numbers of 240 receptions for 3,391 yards and 27 touchdowns, but once he secured a starting job as a junior, Bryant put together an impressive season that has thrust him into the elite receiver prospect section of the 2014 NFL Draft.
One look at Bryant’s career numbers of 61 receptions for 1,354 yards, it is just a shade better than Watkins’ worst season as a Tiger (57 for 709 yards in 2012), but the flanker made the most out of his limited opportunities. Eleven of his thirteen career starts did not come until his junior season, but among players that appeared in at least two seasons of competition, his career average of 22.20 yards topped the previous NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision and Atlantic Coast Conference record of 21.96 yards by Herman Moore of Virginia (114 for 2,504 yards; 1988-90).
Bryant also became just the third player in Clemson history to average at least twenty yards per reception, joining tight end Joe Blalock (20.34 ypc; 38 for 773; 1939-41) and flanker Gary Cooper (20.145 ypc; 79 for 1,592; 1985-89) to establish a new Tigers all-time record. He also converted 21.31% of his receptions into touchdowns, as his thirteen scoring grabs are tied for tenth on the school career-record list.
Thanks to quarterback Tahj Boyd, Bryant and Watkins, Clemson led the Atlantic Coast Conference and ranked ninth in the nation in passing (333.1 ypg), finishing tenth in total offense (507.7 ypg) and eighth in scoring (40.2 ppg) in the FBs during the 2013 season. Bryant and Watkins combined for 143 receptions for 2,292 yards (16.03 ypc) and nineteen touchdowns last season. The only ACC tandem to register more receiving yards in the same season were North Carolina State’s Torry Holt (1,604) and Chris Coleman (876), who totaled 2,480 yards in 1998.
While the media has yet to embrace Bryant and his impressive athletic ability, the two Clemson receivers certainly impressed NFL decision makers with their almost identical performances at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine. In their own personal version of the game show, “Can You Top This,” Watkins ran 4.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash, but Bryant beat him with a 4.42 time. After Watkins delivered a 34-inch vertical jump, Bryant performed the event at 39-inches.
Bryant measured 10’-4” in the broad jump, with Watkins delivering 10’-6”. Both met at sixteen reps during the 225-pound bench press. Watkins was timed at 4.34 in the 20-yard shuttle, giving way to Bryant, who performed it at 4.15 seconds. The three-cone drill saw Bryant come in at 7.18 seconds, but Watkins ran a scorching 6.95-second event.
Before he arrived on the Clemson University campus in 2011, Bryant was rated the third-best player in the nation by 247Sports.com during his senior season at T.L. Hanna High School. A member of the MaxPreps.com Top 100 List, he was rated 43rd by ESPN on their national recruit chart and Rivals.com regarded him as the nation’s tenth-best wide receiver. Scout.com ranked him ninth among the state of South Carolina’s high school prospects.
Bryant moved into the starting lineup for head coach Kenya Fouch during his sophomore season, producing 47 catches for 803 yards, eight kickoff returns for 208 yards, and eight punt returns for 107 yards. In 2008, he recorded 44 receptions for 776 yards and six touch-downs, adding 13 kickoff returns for 348 yards and a touchdown.
Rated ninth in the state by the Charlotte Observer, Bryant played in the Shrine Bowl and U.S. Army All-American game after receiving first-team all-state honors from The State and the High School Sports Report as a senior in 2009. He had 70 receptions for 722 yards and 11 touchdowns during his final campaign. He did not qualify academically after his senior year and attended Hargrave Military Academy to improve his academic standing.
At Hargrave in 2010, Bryant was the top receiver for an offense that was quarterbacked by Doug Williams, Jr., the son of the former Super Bowl Champion. He had five catches for 174 yards and two touchdowns in his first game, including touchdown catches from Williams that were 60 and 74 yards.
Bryant enrolled at Clemson University in 2011 and he was immediately inserted into the receiving corps rotation. In fourteen games, he started twice, but managed just nine receptions. However, he made the most of those few chances, scoring twice while averaging 24.56 yards (221 total) per catch. He also averaged 22.5 yards as a kickoff returner.
Much like his teammate, Sammy Watkins, Bryant experienced a few “roadblocks” during his sophomore season that would limit him to ten games in reserve action. He missed the Boston College and Wake Forest contests after he injured his groin working out in the Tigers strength facility in September and missed the Chick fil-A Bowl when he was ruled academically ineligible. He finished with just ten receptions, but his average of 30.5 yards per grab (305) was the best for any non-qualifier in the major college ranks. Four of those catches resulted in touchdowns and he also averaged 19.77 yards on thirteen kickoff returns.
Bryant’s breakout season would come in 2013. He rededicated himself to not only the game of football and his class work, but also wanted to show the coaches that he was willing to “buy into the program.” Seeing his change in attitude and work ethic, head coach Dabo Swinney would send the junior flanker out for eleven starting assignments. Bryant rewarded his coach’s faith by finishing second on the team with a career-high 42 receptions for 828 yards (19.71 ypc) and seven touchdowns.
There was one “brief” moment during his junior season when Bryant was temporarily in his coach’s doghouse. After he scored the first of two touchdowns in the North Carolina State game, Bryant was caught on tape making a “throat-slashing” gesture after hauling in a 30-yard touchdown reception from Tajh Boyd during the third-ranked Tigers’ 26-14 win. Bryant escaped a 15-yard flag, but was not free from the coaching staff’s wrath.
Bryant was suspended for the first half of the Tigers’ next game, vs. Wake Forest. “He’ll play this weekend, but it will affect his playing time a little bit,” head coach Dabo Swinney announced during his Tuesday press conference prior to the Wake Forest clash. “Just an unacceptable gesture after scoring a touchdown that nobody even knew about until after the game, but it’s not representative of what we want. So there will be some team discipline for him.”
“Listen, he’s been good. Just one of those situations that you’re always growing and teaching,” Swinney said, referring to Bryant. “It’s just unacceptable behavior, and he knew it. I wish I had seen it during the game. I wish the refs had called a flag. There’s no better punishment than immediate. Everybody missed it, but TV sure didn’t miss it. He’ll be fine. I don’t think he’ll do it again.”
On January 5th, 2014, two days after Clemson defeated Ohio State, 40-35, in the Orange Bowl, Bryant told the Post & Courier that he was leaving school and filing paperwork to enter the 2014 NFL Draft. In a text message, he stated the decision was “best for me and my family.”
Bryant fit comfortably into the role as Tajh Boyd’s number-two big-play option threat in 2013, with seventeen of his 42 catches going for 20 yards, including eight for 30 yards and four for 40 or more. The Calhoun Falls native led the ACC in yards per catch (19.7) for a second consecutive season. He exceeded his prior two-year receiving total in 2013’s first ten games en route to 828 yards and seven touchdowns. Bryant finishes his Clemson career with 61 career receptions for 1,354 yards and 13 scores.
Bryant started thirteen games, appearing in a total of thirty-seven contests during his Clemson career … Caught 61 passes for 1,354 yards (22.20 ypc) and thirteen touchdowns, adding 338 yards on seventeen kickoff returns (19.88 ypc) and 17 yards on a reverse … His receiving average of 22.20 yards topped the previous NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision and Atlantic Coast Conference record of 21.96 yards by Herman Moore of Virginia (114 for 2,504 yards; 1988-90) … Also set the school career-record for yards gained per reception, joining tight end Joe Blalock (20.34 ypc; 38 for 773; 1939-41) and flanker Gary Cooper (20.145 ypc; 79 for 1,592; 1985-89) as the only Tigers to average at least twenty yards per catch … His thirteen scoring grabs are tied for tenth on the school career-record list …
Teamed with Sammy Watkins in 2013 to combine for 143 receptions for 2,292 yards (16.03 ypc) and nineteen touchdowns…The only ACC tandem to register more receiving yards in the same season were North Carolina State’s Torry Holt (1,604) and Chris Coleman (876), who totaled 2,480 yards in 1998.
Bryant earned All-American super Sleeper Team honors (most underrated player at each position) by The NFL Draft Report, as that scouting information service also named him to their All-Atlantic Coast Conference second-team, as the flanker also received honorable mention from the league’s media and coaches…Started eleven of the thirteen games that he appeared in, finishing second on the team with a career-high 42 receptions for 828 yards (19.71 ypc) and seven touchdowns, adding 36 yards on a pair of kickoff returns… Also recovered an onside kick to seal the victory vs. Georgia…Had four receptions for a team-high 87 yards vs. South Carolina State, adding six grabs for 73 yards and two touch-downs at North Carolina State … Totaled 79 yards on three snatches that included a score at Syracuse … Hauled in four passes for 88 yards at Maryland and had five receptions for 72 yards at Virginia, followed by five receptions for a game-high 176 yards and a touch-down vs. Georgia Tech, earning ACC Receiver-of-the-Week honors … Totaled 84 yards on four catches, including a touchdown vs. The Citadel … Grabbed three passes for 28 yards and two touchdowns vs. Ohio State in the Orange Bowl.
Bryant appeared in ten games as a reserve flanker, missing the Chick fil-A Bowl when he was ruled academically ineligible … Sat out the Boston College and Wake Forest contests after injuring his groin lifting weights at the Tigers’ complex … Finished with 305 yards, as his average of 30.5 yards was the highest in the nation for any receiver with at least ten catches … Converted four of his ten grabs into touchdowns, as eight of his catches went for distances of twenty yards or longer … Added 257 yards on thirteen kickoff returns (19.77 avg) and gained 17 yards on a reverse … Had a 22-yard receiving touchdown, 17-yard carry, and 69 yards on three kickoff returns vs. Ball State for a team-high 108 all-purpose yards…Added a 39-yard touchdown catch vs. Furman and snared three balls for 82 yards and a 14-yard kickoff return at Wake Forest … Scored on a 41-yard catch, adding a 24-yard kickoff return at Duke … Had two receptions for 59 yards and two kickoff returns for 49 yards for a team-high 108 all-purpose yards vs. Maryland … Caught a pair of passes for 62 yards and a touchdown along with a 24-yard kickoff return vs. North Carolina State.
Bryant earned his first varsity letter, appearing in fourteen games while earning a pair of starting assignments … Only caught nine passes, but they were good for 221 yards, an average of 24.56 yards per catch, as he converted two tosses into touchdowns … Also gained 45 yards on two kickoff returns … Had a 54-yard reception in his first career game vs. Troy and a 42-yard touchdown grab vs. Wofford … Added a 33-yarder vs. Florida State and made his first career start at Virginia Tech … Followed with a 16-yard reception at Maryland and made two catches for 54 yards, including a 29-yard touchdown, and a nine-yard kickoff return vs. North Carolina … Added a 36-yard kickoff return at South Carolina and snared two balls for 20 yards vs. West Virginia in the Orange Bowl.
Bryant attended Hargrave Military Academy, playing football for head coach Troy Davis … Was the top receiver for an offense that was quarterbacked by Doug Williams, Jr., the son of the former Super Bowl Champion. He had five catches for 174 yards and two touch-downs in his first game, including touchdown catches from Williams that were 60 and 74 yards.
2012 Season … Missed two games vs. Boston College and Wake Forest after suffering a groin injury lifting weights at the team complex.
4.42 in the 40-yard dash … 1.57 10-yard dash … 2.59 20-yard dash … 4.15 20-yard shuttle … 7.18 three-cone drill … 39-inch vertical jump … 10’-4” broad jump … Bench pressed 225 pounds 16 times … 32 5/8-inch arm length … 9 ½-inch hands … 79-inch wingspan.
Attended T.L. Hanna (Calhoun Falls, S.C.) High School, playing football for head coach Kenya Fouch … Rated the third-best player in the nation by 247Sports.com during his senior season … Member of the MaxPreps.com Top 100 List … Rated 43rd by ESPN on their national recruit chart and Rivals.com regarded him as the nation’s tenth-best wide receiver … Scout.com ranked him ninth among the state of South Carolina’s high school prospects … Moved into the starting lineup during his sophomore season, producing 47 catches for 803 yards, eight kickoff returns for 208 yards, and eight punt returns for 107 yards … In 2008, he recorded 44 receptions for 776 yards and six touchdowns, adding 13 kickoff returns for 348 yards and a touchdown … Rated ninth in the state by the Charlotte Observer … Played in the Shrine Bowl and U.S. Army All-American game after receiving first-team all-state honors from The State and the High School Sports Report as a senior in 2009 … Had 70 receptions for 722 yards and 11 touchdowns during his final campaign.
Bryant is majoring in Community Recreation, Sport, & Camp Management … Born 12/20/91 … Resides in Calhoun Falls, South Carolina.