Finally back from New Orleans - long day of travel and phone calls and lunch with a friend. Here's what I've got on T.J. Bryant, who transferred in from USC (the real one) and will be eligible as a graduate student to play just one year.
Troy has added some immediate help to its defensive backfield as T.J. Bryant enrolled at the school for his fifth year of eligibility, Trojans head coach Larry Blakeney said Tuesday.
Bryant, who went to Lincoln High School in Tallahassee, Fla., spent his last four years at Southern Cal and graduated. With the NCAA’s graduate transfer rule, Bryant is eligible to play for Troy as long as he enrolls in a graduate program not available at USC.
“He finished in four years, so he’s done something right,” Blakeney said. “He has been a player at the highest level and he played high school ball at a place where we’ve signed guys from, such as Xavier Lamb (linebacker who finished at Troy last year).”
Bryant, listed at 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds, played his first three years at USC after being rated as a 4-star recruit and a Super Prep All-American. He played in seven games as a true freshman, recorded 22 tackles as a sophomore in 2009 and played in just four games in 2010, battling injuries to his cheekbone and shoulder. Bryant had an interception in 2008 and he returned it 55 yards.
The Los Angeles Times said he was suspended from all team activities and redshirted as a senior, giving him the year of eligibility left to play for Troy.
“To the best of my recollection, he connected with us and he was looking for a place,” Blakeney said. “We got a call about it and decided to work with him.”
Bryant will immediately challenge for a starting spot. The preseason depth chart lists senior Bryan Willis and true freshman Shaq Beverly, who enrolled this spring, as the starting cornerbacks. Troy also signed junior college All-American Zach Miller from Butler County (Kan.) Community College. Miller has not arrived at Troy yet, but Blakeney anticipates his arrival by the start of fall practice on Aug. 2.
Sophomore Ethan Davis played some last year and newcomers Jeremy Spikner (junior college transfer) and Chris Davis (freshman) got some valuable work this spring.
“He gives us another cover corner,” Blakeney said. “We’ve got some guys back that can play, but we think he’s a player. He played at a great place with some great players. He gives us another guy with experienced guys like Willis and (safety Brynden) Trawick who can help shore things up.”