“I grew up an Auburn fan,” Bryant said. “Never for one second did I think I was going to play for Auburn; it just never occurred to me. I’m from a smaller high school, so I wasn’t really recruited by bigger schools. I thought junior college would be my best route.”
After graduating Oneonta High School in 2007, Bryant went to play baseball for Itawanba Community College in Mississippi for two years before being recruited to the Tigers during a practice one afternoon.
“The number came up on my cellphone and it was (recruiting coordinator) Scott Foxhall,” Bryant said. “When he said he was from Auburn University, I was already sold.”
Bryant has played a unique role for the Tigers. In his three years on the team, he has played at shortstop, second base, third base, left field, right field and pitcher.
“I’m really not sure how all that got started,” Bryant said. “I guess they had the confidence in me that I could do the job they wanted me to do. It plays into my advantage that they let me do that because if it gives me the most chances of being on the field.”
Playing the wild card role has its drawbacks, however.
“I like playing everywhere, but it would be nice to have a place to call home,” Bryant said. “There’s not much physical strain of doing any of it. It’s just about having the confidence and the mindset to be able to do everything.”
Along with the difficulties of swapping positions, Bryant also had to overcome a right elbow injury in 2011 that required Tommy John surgery, causing him to miss the season.
“The rehab process was a long, drawn out deal because you have to take baby steps, and I don’t have good patience, so baby steps don’t work for me very well,” Bryant said.
After being put back on the active roster and being reunited with his teammates, Bryant had to see how his restructured elbow would stand up in SEC play.
“It does get tight from time to time, but that comes with having surgery,” Bryant said. “I used to go out and could pick up a baseball and throw it no big deal. Now I take a little bit longer to get loose.”
Bryant is also planning for life after graduation. He is getting married to his high school sweetheart, Katie Young, in June.
“I’ve thought about doing different things, but it’s kind of hard for me to get away from the game that I’ve played every day of my life,” Bryant said.
Bryant hopes to pursue coaching after graduation, possibly attending graduate school and assistant coaching with the Tigers.
“I’m just trying to keep the game in my life and not just totally walk away from it after this year,” Bryant said.