Redshirt freshman receiver Ventell Bryant heads into the locker room following Temple’s 30-16 victory over UCF last season in week 6, and was asked to address the media by Temple football director of communications Rich Burg.
Bryant is immediately met by a swarm of reporters- considering he scored his first touchdown of his collegiate career in the second quarter of the game.
“Coach told us, win on your release- you never know who could get the ball. PJ [Walker] looked at me, and I made a play.” He recalls
Bryant was streaking along the back of the end zone when he made eye contact with the junior signal-caller on 3rd and goal play from the 4 yard-line, and Walker delivered a strike.
“It was slow-motion for me. I locked in on the ball, caught it with my hands, tapped my two feet in, touchdown.”That touchdown was the beginning of an era for the young wideout, who heads into the 2016 season- now a redshirt sophomore- as the top threat at receiver for the Owls.
Bryant shattered program records for Temple freshman receivers in both receptions (39) and receiving yards (579). The previous marks were 22 receptions from Sean Szarka in 2012, and 378 yards from Carlos Johnson in 1998.
Bryant’s career highs in receptions and yards in a single game came on Halloween, in his 6 reception, 91 yard performance against the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. Bryant made his way onto the highlight once again with a 75 yard touchdown reception vs. SMU, which ended up being the longest of the season for the Owls. However, Bryant’s youth showed after that play. Matt Rhule was not a fan of his celebration and made Bryant do up downs on the sideline. Despite the hiccup, at the end of the season, he trailed only Robby Anderson in receptions and yards for the team.
With two receivers ahead of Bryant in the depth chart in 2015 signing NFL free agent deals, P.J Walker will look to the 19 year-old for a spark from the wideout position.
Bryant was born to parents Luz and Oscar in Tampa, FL. In Tampa, Bryant was raised and went on to play football for Jefferson High School.
It was his senior year he knew playing football at a high collegiate level was more than feasible.
Jefferson High School ended up going 10-2 Bryant’s senior year, advancing to the FHSAA second round of the playoffs. The 6 foot 3 inch target hauled in 34 receptions for 756 yards and 11 touchdowns, averaging over 20 yards per reception.
Here you can watch a one-handed grab by Bryant during his senior season:
The season put together forced college teams to take notice. Along with Temple, Bryant garnered interest from Ohio University, Illinois State, and hometown Florida International University. On December 6 of his senior year Bryant visited Temple’s campus, and just 2 days later he was committed to the cherry and white.
Looking forward for Bryant, after such a strong freshman campaign- 3 more years of production, with each year gaining knowledge and experience, will likely put the receiver in elite company in Temple’s receiving record books.