October 12, 2009

Anderson's All-American

MORE: Army All-American Bowl selection tour | Army AA announcement gallery | Army AA Rosters

ANDERSON, S.C. - Monday Morning representatives from the U.S. Army All-American Bowl were out in full force at T.L. Hanna presenting the latest selection, Martavis Bryant, to the nation's most prestigious high school all-star game.

"It's a big one," Bryant said. "All of my hard work and time put in paid off."

The 6-foot-4, 200-pound wide receiver will participate in the 10th anniversary of the Army Bowl at noon CST on Jan. 9 at San Antonio's Alamodome. The game is televised nationally on NBC and features 90 of the nation's elite prep football players.

The selection and moment made for a proud mother.

"Him being the first from his school to go out to that is very, very exciting," Roberta Bryant said.

Five players from South Carolina will play in the game, including Brandon Willis and Marcus Lattimore of Byrnes, Kelcy Quarles from Greenwood as well as Darlington's Victor Hampton.

For Bryant, this morning's induction was a mere formality as he's known about his selection to this prestigious contest since last spring.

"He's been to some combines, and he's been seen," Anderson - T.L. Hanna head coach Kenya Fouch said. "His film was good enough and the ratings were good enough. They went ahead and told us very early that they were offering him to play in this game. We knew back in March this was going to happen."

As a junior, Bryant had 44 catches for 776 yards and six touchdowns. The No. 5 recruit in the Palmetto State, according to Rivals.com, added 13 kick returns for 348 yards and one touchdown. As a sophomore at Calhoun Falls, he hauled in 47 balls for 803 yards and three touchdowns. Bryant also returned eight kicks for 208 yards and eight punts for 107 yards.

As a senior through seven games, the four-star prospect is having his best season yet with 52 grabs for more than 700 yards and 12 touchdowns.

"It's a combination of height and a good body frame, but he can still add 10 to 15 pounds," Fouch said when talking about what makes Bryant so special. "He's got great speed, something you can't teach. He has great ball skills, and he's just really learning how to play the position. He's not polished. He'll get to a place where they really can hone in on his technique. Then he can really be something special."

That place will be at Clemson, where he verbally pledged in February of 2008.

The nation's No. 41 overall prospect was visiting Georgia just last month, but put an end to all of that recently.

"I've been liking (Clemson) since I was a kid," Bryant said. "I'm definitely going there. When I went down there two weeks ago they told me what number I'll be wearing. I'll be wearing No. 1 for them. That means a lot."

Fouch talked more about Bryant's recruitment.

"Clemson is where he always wanted to go," Fouch said. "The family pretty much decided. He already knows he wants to go to Clemson. His family likes having him close. They said let's cancel the other visits. Now they want to win at Clemson, so he can help in the recruiting process and contacting some of the other guys. He's going to start working now on Clemson's behalf."

His mom also helped in making the prospect's pledge firm.

"He was already stuck on Clemson from the beginning," she said. "Being my only child,we didn't want him going too far away. When he wanted to visit other places, I was like this has got to quit. This is where you are going. There isn't any sense in visiting other schools. You've got your heart set on Clemson.

"What I like, as a parent, about coach (Dabo) Swinney and (offensive line) coach (Brad) Scott is they've been behind Martavis since the beginning," Bryant's mother said.

"Behind him in coming to school, taking pride in what he's doing, going to the football field, academics and they believe in helping a child out. That's what I like about them. I need someone who's going to be there for him and be behind him and help him grow into a man. I think they will be there for him."

In the meantime, it's all about finishing a solid senior season, then taking his skills to Texas just after the New Year to do work in the Army All-American game.

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