We are four days away from the 2020 NFL draft and like any other draft hopeful, Washington tight end Hunter Bryant is getting ready to live out a dream that he has been preparing for his freshman year at Eastside Catholic High School.
Since his freshman year, Bryant has been training at Ford Sports Performance in Bellevue, Washington. This same training facility helped vault Cardinals safety Budda Baker, Jaguars linebacker Myles Jack, 49ers wide receiver Kendrick Bourne, and others into the NFL. Former Huskies running back Salvon Ahmed and Stanford's junior wide receiver Connor Wedington currently train at the facility as well.
Under the supervision of Tracy Ford, along with Seahawks linebackers Bobby Wagner and KJ Wright and former Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, Bryant has been able to learn how to take constructive criticism and implement it to become a better player, according to Ford.
"Me and Hunter’s relationship is really tight. In high school, I got to know him at the age of 16 years old. You always see kids like that are physically and genetically gifted, and you always hope that they are going to stay on the right path and do the right thing and continue to trust the process," Ford said.
Per, NBC Northwest Bryant will be selected in the second round of this year's draft. While back in March, The Seattle Times' Bob Condotta had him going to the Seahawks in the fourth round with the 144th pick. Last season for the Huskies, Bryant caught 52 passes for 825 years and three touchdowns.
I recently caught up with Bryant to discuss how has the hard work in the offseason with Ford, Wagner, Wright, and Sherman at Ford Sports Performance has helped prepare him for the next step in his athletic career. He also shares what the Seahawks would be getting if they were to select him in this year's draft.
Landon Buford (LB): You grew up training at Ford Sports Performance in Bellevue, Washington with current Seahawks Bobby Wagner, KJ Wright, and former Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman. Can you share with us how they helped prepare you to be a professional?
Hunter Bryant (HB): They helped me understand how defenses work and a lot of the schemes and how to work at a professional level. I have seen that since I have been in high school, and I have seen them work since I have been in school.
So, I have been able to see what they did and tried to emulate it throughout my time in college, and I learned from them how to attack the details of the game. Having them as role models has been huge for me.
LB: Dating back to your time at Eastside Catholic, how has Tracy Ford helped prepare you on the football field and taught you how to carry yourself off of it?
HB: He was huge just him [being there for me] and what makes him different from a lot of other trainers, is he genuinely cares about the success of who he trains and who comes through FSP. So, having him and playing with him in high school on the seven on seven teams was a place to be a dog.
That is something he established that everyone who he trains are dogs in terms of their mentality. They went out and attacked workouts and competed like we didn’t compete in other places. He built us into the players we are today, just with the mentality that we have.
LB: I see you hired Henry Organ as your agent. How he has helped you prepare for this year’s draft?
HB: He has really helped line things up as far as who I talk to and making sure I do not have anything to worry about other than working out, studying playbooks, and watching film. He has made everything easy for me, and I am glad he is my agent.
LB: You are already drawing comparison to Evan Engram of the New York Giants and Delanie Walker at this stage of your career. Do think that is a fair comparison, and if so, how have you embraced it?
HB: Yeah, I think it is definitely a fair comparison, and both those guys are elite players at the tight end position and they're both around my size. Evan Engram is 6-foot-2, 240 something, and I think he is really explosive with the ball in his hands, and that’s what I try to be too. And I think that is a piece to my game.
And Delanie [Walker] is an overall great player in the run game and the passing game. So, he is someone that I look to a lot as someone at my size which can get blocks done at the NFL level. I watch him a lot and try to study his game to add it to my own, and I think they are both great players.
LB: How is your skill set like theirs, and what sets you apart from Evan and Delanie and other tight ends around the league?
HB: I think I’m very versatile and I can do a lot of different things. I think I can line up as a wide receiver, in the slot, or detached to the lineman, and in the backfield with the fullback. I think I can do a lot of different things that offensive coordinators might want to do, and really, I think my versatility is what sets me apart. As far as similar goes, I think I am very explosive with the ball in my hands, and I take pride in it, and I think it is a big part of my game.
I think Engram does the same thing because you can see how explosive he can be with the ball in his hands. With Delanie [Walker], he and I are the same body type, and he is versatile too. As a player, he can run and block - that is where I want to show that we are similar in.
LB: How have you been able to get workouts in during the stay-at-home order?
HB: I have still been working out at one of my friend’s houses that has a full gym and turf.
LB: If you weren’t playing football, what field would you want to be in?
HB: If I were not playing football right now, I would probably be in culinary school and doing something that involves food.
LB: What is it about the aspect of culinary school that intrigues you the most?
HB: I always loved food, and I love eating and love cooking. So, If I did not play football, it was in the back of my mind that I wanted to go to culinary school, learn how to cook, and do something that involves food because I thought it would be a lot of fun.
LB: How do you think that you would fit into the Seahawks offensive scheme if drafted?
HB: I think I would add another potential play maker to the offense. It would be adding another weapon that the offensive coordinator can use. I think I have a lot of attributes that can assist my teammates out just like others around the NFL.
LB: Where do you see your career going?
HB: At this time, I am just looking to get drafted, and as soon as I get drafted, just keep working. Then see where that takes my career from there. I do not have any big plans other than just to work, and see were it goes.