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Freshman Focus: Greg Bryant

Jun 19, 2013, 2:35 PM EDT


Not many skill players have come to Notre Dame in recent years with the expectations of Florida’s Greg Bryant. After a heralded prep career, Bryant walks onto campus with many believing he’s already the best running back in South Bend.

Of course, heralded freshmen phenoms are nothing new for the Irish. But getting the type of performance out of them that you expect is an entirely different story. Still, Bryant is one of the most intriguing players in the Irish recruiting class because of what he brings to the table.

Physically ready to contribute, comfortable in an offensive system like the Irish’s, and capable of carrying the load or catching out of the backfield, Bryant looks the part of an early contributor. Now he’ll have to work hard through summer workouts, and quickly make a name for himself during fall camp.

If he does, a wide open running back race could be his to win.


Few names are as shiny and bright as Bryant’s. A five-star prospect by Rivals, he’s the highest ranked skill player to sign with the Irish since Jimmy Clausen. While not all services view him as quite that elite, he’s a consensus top 50 player, one of the elite offensive skill players in the country.

At a position that’s probably the easiest to break into in college football, looking at past years gives you an idea of what type of player the Irish could be getting. Ranked around the same spot as Bryant over the following few recruiting cycles? Freshmen phenoms Duke Johnson of Miami, Todd Gurley at Georgia, Marcus Lattimore of South Carolina, and Silas Redd of Penn State.

Then again, the last big name running back to sign with the Irish was James Aldridge, who never showed the type of promise many expected after a high school knee injury.

No pressure, kid.


While most see the starting running back job as George Atkinson‘s to lose, even with his elite speed, he’s not necessarily without his faults. (Nicely documented here and here by our friends at OFD.) With Atkinson, Cam McDaniel, Amir Carlisle and Will Mahone possessing next to no experience, there’s an opening in the backfield if Bryant sees the hole and hits it (pardon the crummy running back metaphor).

Still, if we’ve learned anything these last three years, it’s that it takes a freshman some time to earn the trust of this coaching staff. Sure, there are examples like KeiVarae Russell learning to play cornerback on the fly, but for the most part, even the most impressive young players take some time to learn the ropes.

But if you are looking for a clear take on the attitude Bryant brings with him on his way to South Bend, he provided it last week when talking with Blue & Gold Illustrated.

“I can tell you right now that I’m not going to redshirt,” Bryant told B&G. “I’m putting myself in the best position to play early and nobody is going to work harder than me to get on the field. I’ve been playing among the best of the best in Florida and I’m prepared to go in and make plays for Notre Dame.”


Bryant is an interesting case study for both Rivals rankings and the Irish coaching staff’s player evaluations. While Bryant has an elite grade, he’s not one of the biggest, fastest, or strongest running backs in the country. Tony Alford has compared him to a stronger Theo Riddick, a comparison that should make Irish fans happy, but shouldn’t have them expecting another Jerome Bettis.

Still, Bryant has impressed recruitniks at the US Army All-American Bowl, had an elite set of offers, and has plenty of size, speed, and skill to be a very productive member of the Irish offense. Riddick put together a terrific senior season with below average size and speed. We should expect Bryant’s baseline measureables to probably exceed Riddick’s right now, and he’s known for his elusiveness as well. That’s a scary combination.

The timing is right for a player like Bryant to seize an opening in the Irish offense. Can it be him, Tarean Folston, or incoming blue-chipper Elijah Hood? That’s the big question.

  1. nudeman - Jun 19, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    “I’m not going to redshirt”??

    I like the confidence but hope he isn’t setting himself up for a huge letdown.
    There’s a bit of a logjam in front of him and Atkinson and McDaniel are going to get their share of carries; Carlisle will probably play more slot than RB. Mahone might be the odd man out.

    But between the doubt about Atkinson’s ability and inevitable injuries, I think Bryant will get his shot at some point this year

    • dickasman - Jun 19, 2013 at 5:31 PM

      Well I can’t blame da kid. Who da hell wants to wear the crimson tide other than Alabama, let alone ride one. I’m a guy and I FOCKING hate that time of the month. Everyone should get their ovaries pulled.

      • jerseyshorendfan1 - Jun 19, 2013 at 8:55 PM

        Not all people have ovaries.

      • dickasman - Jun 19, 2013 at 10:54 PM

        Well just for you because youre from jersey shore, they should implant ovaries and remove the testes. Dont blame me, Sorry, I didn’t create snooki situation.

      • dickasman - Jun 19, 2013 at 10:56 PM

        Jerzee, do you know why do we all get all technical n ship it up,in hia always? Can we all just step off da Louisville slugger once in a while although I prefer telephone poles.

      • jerseyshorendfan1 - Jun 19, 2013 at 11:46 PM

        Dick are you on the purple drank again or what?

      • 4horsemenrideagain - Jun 20, 2013 at 12:05 PM

        i just realized that dick is l’il wayne, and l’il wayne is dick. wayne/dick, i’m glad you pulled through that hospital scare.

      • irish4006 - Jun 20, 2013 at 12:11 PM

        Li’l Dick Wayne?

      • jerseyshorendfan1 - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:20 PM

        Irish 4006 that is some funny shiz right there. I would give 10 thumbs up to that post if my google machine would allow it.

  2. fnc111 - Jun 19, 2013 at 4:46 PM

    Watching him in the all-star game in San Antonio he looks like a little bit better version of Armando Allen. I’m guessing he will start at some point based on the fact ND has no RB’s with talent from the spring roster. The ones that were trotted out for the spring game were uninspiring.

    I guess Wood should’ve stayed. He didn’t get drafted and will be cut soon with nowhere to play.

    • dickasman - Jun 19, 2013 at 5:28 PM

      Isn’t this the guy that did “bad thing” off the field? I’ve asked over and over but everybody keeps covering for the player so I presume it’s him. That’s what you get. It would probably be of too noble and uncool act to drop the fake ass black nonprescription glasses and go back to ND and finish his degree and be a good father and loving husband for rest of his life.

      I would love for a froshman player to come in and play like a gangbuster but I no longer hope that because kids today are really focked in the head. They can’t handle it, truth or not. Even that Manziel kid seem semi normal but then he goes and pops champaign and finger blastin w his mother. I’m thinkin incest, not heisman.

      • irishpuma - Jun 21, 2013 at 2:27 AM

        wrong again dick…..I have given you numerous hints throughout the year but you are too dense to pick up on them and I guess not sophisticated enough to hear of this machine called the computer where you can go on the interwebs and use the google to find out something you really want to know if you were not so F’n dumb and lazy….You are slandering a normal kid with nothing seedy in his background that I know of…..and calling him a bad parent… are not a PRINCE! You are a douche.

  3. dickasman - Jun 19, 2013 at 5:32 PM

    He will be good to great if he stays outta trouble, grades, etc…

    • mtflsmitty - Jun 19, 2013 at 9:13 PM

      Nice article from Keith. Insightful comment from Nude. Then a parade of stupidity from OL’ chums, Dick and The Coward.

      • dickasman - Jun 19, 2013 at 10:58 PM

        Hey babe***waves hello n pats him on the lardy buttocks***

  4. jerseyshorendfan1 - Jun 19, 2013 at 8:58 PM

    I also admire his confidence nude. Let’s give him the rock and see what he’s got.

  5. loadofwash - Jun 19, 2013 at 9:00 PM

    Just another reach. Maybe ha can compete against Navy but not much more. Southbend talent is just middle of the road, the ACC will feast on ND for years to come.

  6. loadofwash - Jun 19, 2013 at 9:57 PM

    No real recruit will consider ND after that historically bad effort. That loss keeps the irish ladies out for 5 yrs. back to the Hawaii bowl which might not be a bad thing considering ND’s bowl history. The ACC is safe for the long haul.

    • dickasman - Jun 19, 2013 at 11:00 PM

      I agree but I blame nd ladies “tighter” morals for the recruiting.

      • dillonbigred - Jun 20, 2013 at 1:26 AM

        I have always thought it best not to respond to the trolls, but I now think dick and only dick should respond, especially for the infantile ones like load. Talk about messing with someone’s mind!

    • 4horsemenrideagain - Jun 20, 2013 at 12:07 PM

      if i have to scroll through your comments load, at least make it worth my time and get some new material. rehashing the old barbs is just lazy.

  7. dickasman - Jun 19, 2013 at 11:01 PM

    Loose morals=top 5 recruiting class.

  8. bernhtp - Jun 19, 2013 at 11:22 PM

    I saw the detailed analysis and appraisal of Atkinson by OFD yesterday. It was pretty damning. With his size, strength and speed, GA3 should be an elite back. I’m hoping that he doesn’t turn out to be the Dayne Crist of RBs – amazing potential but little performance for largely inexplicable reasons.

    Mike Frank of ISD made an interesting statement on his Power Hour show a couple of days ago. He said that he expected Amir Carlisle (assuming healthy) and Greg Bryant to be the most important skill players on offense. Absent a playmaker at QB, we need it in the backfield and slot.

    • nudeman - Jun 20, 2013 at 11:32 AM

      I just looked at the OFD piece. Agree, it’s tough on GAIII. Basically all the same stuff we’ve been reading/saying for a year now. Runs too high, indecisive, stutter steps when making cuts.

      In GAIII’s defense in at least a couple of their video clips, they’re a little unfair. Guy takes a handoff and within two steps has multiple defenders swarming him with no chance to do anything. Not exactly fair to cite that as an example of poor running.

      Personally I think the guy is playing out of position.
      Would have been a great WR (but apparently has lousy hands) or FS.

      • irishpuma - Jun 21, 2013 at 2:33 AM

        You all may be right but GA3 simply has not been given enough of an opportunity and we do not have enough of a sample set on him to make such judgements. I think everyone will be surprised this year. He has size, speed, and a big line in front of him lets feed him and see what happens. TRees clogging the 8 man box will not help any of our backs…nuff said.

        If the AMIR could stay healthy he is the answer back there though.

  9. loadofwash - Jun 20, 2013 at 9:04 AM

    One would think at some point in 20 yrs the fan base would be honorable and take responsibility for buying the hype in blind fashion and supporting the most over rated non professional program on the planet. A true BCS bust! Oh what a game that was.

    • mcirish27 - Jun 20, 2013 at 11:25 AM

      Remember that time, in January 2012, when LSU got shut out in the Nat’l Championship game? What a program killer. It’s amazing that they can even field a team these days. Don’t you think they should just give up? Fans too. Sheesh.

    • danirish - Jun 20, 2013 at 1:53 PM

      Run Forrest, run!

    • irishpuma - Jun 21, 2013 at 2:36 AM

      Load remember that time when your coach covered up for a pedophile for 10 -20 years and did nothing and was ran out of town….How many NC’s did you guys win???? How many lives were ruined??? How many underage boys traveled with the team and were in hotels and in the locker room getting abused????? Great program and the head of it knew!!! Time to move on son and quit talking your trash and repeating your same three takes. One game does not make or break a program one crime or era of abuse does……

    • irishdrg1 - Jun 25, 2013 at 4:05 PM

      You are such an idiot, here in Texas we wouldn’t put up with you–just kick your as*, like they did all your life

  10. mediocrebob - Jun 20, 2013 at 10:59 AM

    Says the Penn State fan…

  11. yaketyyacc - Jun 20, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    the bantering back and forth does not dispel the fact, that while ND has had some serious transfers, what remains leaves a ND fan giddy about the coming season. overly optimistic, just maybe. we always look for the National Championship, adding to the words over the side entrance to Sacred Heart Basilica: for God, Country, Notre Dame….. and the National Championship. it is not words of aloofness or eliteness that has given Notre Dame its place at the top of college football, but hard work, and spirit. and judging ND on this basis, the coming year reminds one of the old sitcom title: “Moviin on up”.

    • mtflsmitty - Jun 20, 2013 at 7:22 PM

      Great post!

  12. loadofwash - Jun 20, 2013 at 12:12 PM

    42-14 is without a doubt something to build on, can’t get much worse. Hopefully the recruits weren’t watching. Although it was a historical record !!!

    • danirish - Jun 20, 2013 at 1:53 PM

      Run Forrest, run!

    • 1historian - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:29 PM

      There are no words available yet to describe your LOL (Level Of Lunacy), and that is something for which

    • 1historian - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:35 PM

      There are no words available in the English language to describe your LOL (Level Of Lunacy), and that is something for which MOST of us are profoundly grateful.

      Count me among them.

      Perhaps there are in Klingon. For, as we all know, “Shakespeare is best in the original Klingon.”

      but for now, let me suffice with this

      go to your room

      no supper, no nothing

  13. mediocrebob - Jun 20, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    Load, aren’t you a Penn St fan pretending to be a bama fan?

    Maybe you used to be a bama fan but during those 20 years of being bad you took a liking to how Penn St did things…

  14. 4beav - Jun 20, 2013 at 1:48 PM

    Load needs to throw out his material with the Sandusky bath water.

  15. mediocrebob - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    Load doesn’t like me… :*(

  16. loadofwash - Jun 20, 2013 at 5:45 PM

    Hawaii bowl here we come, hip, hip, WTF, don’t worry be happy. And here’s a little secret nim rods, the standards at ND are actually easier than most state schools. Let’s work up an over / under on team off campus arrest… I go with 14

    • kansasirish - Jun 20, 2013 at 7:56 PM

      Your an idiot!

  17. mediocrebob - Jun 20, 2013 at 10:15 PM

    Load is a Paterno/Sandusky guy everyone. ‘Nough said

  18. loadofwashmother - Jun 21, 2013 at 1:20 AM

    Anyone seen my son around here ?
    He is about 5 foot tall and wide, lives in my basement and doesn’t have a job.
    He hasn’t paid rent in five years
    If you see him around here please tell him to come and pick up his dirty clothes from the floor and to pay rent for once
    Enough of my little troll

    • irishpuma - Jun 21, 2013 at 2:39 AM

      We will keep an eye out for him Mrs. Sandusky.

  19. loadofwash - Jun 21, 2013 at 6:47 AM

    Ha ha, this must be idiot nation. 42, I say 42-14 son.

    • mediocrebob - Jun 22, 2013 at 11:13 PM

      “Idiot Nation” , huh? I guess there’s no lack of creativity in Happy Valley. You guys think of things nobody else could dream to come up with……….son?

  20. padomer - Jun 21, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    load, ive taken the time (bout 15seconds) to google “Penn State Message Boards” for you. Here are a few for starters… – Message Boards Penn State Football Forum

    I will say that I think the jury is still out on GAIII. Puma makes a killer point in how the box won’t be doing any of our backs any kind of favor. But still, someting around 15-20 touches per game would be an adequate sample size before we can get into advanced scouting metrics. Does he run high, yes, but when he gets that 3 yard seam, hes gonzo. That skill is something ND hasnt had in a real long time. The most damning thing about him is that he hasn’t forced the coaches to give him the rock 15-20x per game…however the time is his now. I expect an AA or something close to it.

  21. shaunodame - Jun 22, 2013 at 7:43 PM


    I used to be a big fan of reading the comments sections on these articles because its a great way to gauge how other Irish fans, like myself, are feeling about particular events/players/coaches/decisions etc. It was a great forum, which in large is related to your suberb quality of articles. You continue to be my go-to favorite source for Notre Dame Football information and analysis, but the condition of the forum message boards has significantly deteriorated, IMO. Too often now, and many of you know who I am referring to, users with no interest whatsoever in the Irish or Notre Dame Football in any way shape or form have been given to privilege to come here, register, and comment derogatorily and without restriction creating nothing short of a toxic environment. I enjoy a great debate as much as the next man, and sometimes someone truly “stirring the pot” can be a good thing, but only when it is done in good taste, and not in this disgusting fashion. I hope that I speak for many readers, members, and Irish fans in general in saying that something needs to be done to combat his shameless assault. Having a membership, and the ability to comment, should be considered a Privilege and not a right. I hope that someone along the chain of command can step up and do nip the problem in the bud, before it gets any worse than it already is. As a dedicated Irish, and NBC Sports, faithful I hope that you head my message, and help the rest of us members who are here to just enjoy a good conversation amongst fellow fans and friends.

    Loyal Irish Fan

  22. goldenirishson - Jul 1, 2013 at 3:45 PM

    Here is my take GB reminds me of The Bus’ (JB) and Folston reminds me of Ricky Watters’ remember him? But at this fork in the road we all have to wait and see what happens My personal op’ on GA111 well he can run and you have to admit he was playing behind CW and TR and you also had EG who had multiple opportunity’s to give GA111 better reads but we were on the fly last season right? EG’s ability to read the option was ok but not great’ right? so with TR @ the reads’ defense’s will be looking for the pass first it’s “arithmetic” sorry for the pun ol’ jab’ but if you think about it BK didn’t go out to New England to see how Mac n Cheese is made, he went there to see how Tom Brady and company really get defense’s on their heels he’s a master at it.The Pat’s have had sub standard back’s it’s seems the Pat’s have a new back every year and with Brady’ the running game was upgraded no matter who was in the formation so to make this story longer… I see great thing’s coming out of the backfield this year To put it bluntly Balls to the wall Passing, then Run the rock up the gut Theo was outstanding taking defender’s head on and CWood was outstanding running on the edge But my hope is that BK gives the rock to GBryant up the gut and give GA111 the edge who know’s it could be Folston slicing the edge’ it’s going to be exciting you cant misread that. BK’s OL’ is built for protection built for pocket passer’s don’t get me wrong I love the spread attack but you have to think about stamina’ and it take’s allot of gas to wait for your QB to make up his mind running around trying to find that wideopen receiver.With Tommy you’re going to get fast read’s and save the gas for the 4th quarter.

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