The 90 Illini #27: Pat Bryant

Aug 3, 2022

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I just did a radio spot on WDWS and Loren Tate asked me to pick a player who bursts onto the scene this year. On offense, I picked Pat Bryant. So now I'm going to write about a true sophomore who, as of this afternoon, is a player I'm saying will burst onto the scene this season. It's not very often that a true sophomore is ready for a scene burst, but hey, I put it out there so now I have to run with it.

Hard to remember a player I've hyped as much as Pat Bryant. His 247 Composite score was .8519, so let me look up a few other recruiting classes to see what players are close to that. In 2022, Ashton Hollins was .8511, so there's one comp. Let me go back a few years for another one. Let's say the 2018 class. The closest player to Bryant's composite score is... Kievan Myers (.8513). So this is like me taking Kievan Myers or Ashton Hollins and claiming that they're going to have breakout seasons as true sophomores. Players ranked as mid three-stars have second-year breakouts maybe... 3% of the time?

But the hype is already out there. I rated him 3.5 Cruises which tied for the highest Cruise rating I handed out in the 2021 class. I gave him my Asamoah Award (given to the player who I think will play well above his high school ranking). Last year he was the highest-ranked true freshman on my 90 Illini list. And this year he's the highest ranked sophomore. I apparently cannot stop hyping Pat Bryant.

And now I've gone on record saying he bursts onto the scene this season. There's about a 3% chance that happens, but hey, I've come this far. I'll just keep the hype train going until it doesn't happen.

27. Pat Bryant

Wide Receiver
Uniform number: 13
Year in school: Sophomore (4 years to play 3)
Height: 6'-3" -- Weight: 195 lbs.
Hometown: Jacksonville, Florida
High School: Atlantic Coast HS
Five best offers: Florida State, Penn State, Miami, Nebraska, Iowa
Tom Cruise rating:

2021 statistics: Played in 10 games as a true freshman, starting three. Six catches for 98 yards.


Some of those offers there were from his sophomore year and fell under the category of "possibly committable, possibly not." Here's the bullet points I put together in his LLUOI article from June of 2020:

  • Last fall, it looks like he visited FSU for two games (and maybe Nebraska?). Then his tweets all focus on his injury - halfway through his junior season, a torn labrum. Most tweets are about his rehab from that injury. He talks about it in this article.
  • In November and December he adds Penn State, Indiana, and Syracuse. The article above said he planned visits to Penn State and Syracuse this spring. Not sure if he took those but I'm assuming Covid shut them down.
  • OK, so now we're in the big offseason. He's a rising senior, the period of time which is everything as far as offers and rankings go. He announces a top-6 in January of Florida State, Georgia Tech, Syracuse, Penn State, Virginia Tech, Nebraska.
  • After that top-6, he adds offers from Iowa, Virginia, Minnesota, Arkansas, Illinois, and Vanderbilt.
  • June 6th he announces that he's making his decision this past Sunday, a few days later he announces his final two are West Virginia and Illinois, and on Sunday he verbals to Illinois.

So most likely, he chose Illinois over Iowa, Virginia, Minnesota, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, and West Virginia. It's not beating Penn State and Miami, but still, that's a solid get. Last season he played in 10 games and had 98 yards receiving and now he returns looking for a sophomore leap.

2022 Outlook

I just put together that list of "snaps per game" for the Miles Scott article - let me go copy it over here:

Isaiah Williams - 41 snaps per game
Casey Washington - 40
Donny Navarro - 34
Pat Bryant - 18
Carlos Sandy - 16
Miles Scott - 11
Khmari Thompson - 11
Dalevonn Campbell - 9
Deuce Spann - 7
Brian Hightower - 6

So this one seems pretty simple. Heavy use of three receivers last year (IW, Casey, and Donny). Donny transferred to Northwestern (sniff) in the offseason. Pat Bryant was fourth on this list, so slide him up to third. I think there will be three receivers getting the bulk of the snaps this fall and I think those three receivers will be Isaiah Williams, Casey Washington, and Pat Bryant.


Axllini on August 4, 2022 @ 12:53 PM

I hope you're right on this breakout. He certainly seems to have the physical tools. My concern lies in him picking up a new offense/language in year 2. I believe it was the NW game last year where we were cruising, but the tv camera caught Peters in a close up after a missed connection with Bryant, and he clearly yells to the sideline something along the lines of "what is he doing, get him out of here!" More reps in practice and experience in second season can bring lots of comfort, but if he's starting over on learning an offense, that Qb/wr exchange in the final game of last season could project to a slower build for bryant as he learns his second offense

Robert on August 4, 2022 @ 01:50 PM

One play where a senior QB is caught on the mic yelling about a freshman WR not understanding how far to break the route towards the sideline does not mean Pat Bryant can't pick up an offense. In the same way that Kurt Kittner's 44% completion percentage, 1 touchdown, and 7 interceptions his freshman year didn't mean Kittner would always struggle reading coverages. Freshmen do freshmen things. And then they become sophomores.

If it's a problem in 2023 then we can talk. But I believe "might be a slower build for Bryant" to be unfair. It was just one play.

Axllini on August 4, 2022 @ 02:31 PM

Freshman absolutely do freshman things, and now as a sophomore, he has to begin the process again. I don't believe I was unfair relying on one direct example projecting difficulty for a player whom I wondered so often last year why he wasn't getting looks, despite being on the field a lot. Perhaps our failed offensive scheme, and the fact that he was forced out there due to lack of other options combined to make it that way, and I'm projecting based on nothing. Happy to be wrong.

Robert on August 10, 2022 @ 04:04 PM

(Bumping this ahead of all the old posts with spambot comments.)

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