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Tracking the College Gridiron Stars of the Future

Football Recruiting Report
Friday, July 8, 2005

By Sammy Batten

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Recruiting class poised for late boost


East Carolina may be on the verge of bringing in a major talent for its football program via the transfer route.

Jamar Bryant, who was rated North Carolina's No. 7 prospect by SuperPrep recruiting magazine as a senior in 2003 at Richmond Senior High in Rockingham, asked for and received last week a release from the letter-of-intent he signed in February with Georgia. Bryant told Georgia head coach Mark Richt that he intended to enroll at East Carolina.

"Jamar Bryant has asked for and received release from his letter-of-intent with the University of Georgia,'' Richt said in a statement released by the school. "He had decided he wants to go to East Carolina University, which is closer to his home. We certainly respect his decision and wish him the best in the future.''

ECU officials would not confirm the transfer and Bryant couldn't be reached for comment Thursday. Bryant's former coach at Richmond, Ed Emory, has not spoken with the player since Christmas. But Richt did call him last Thursday to tell him of Bryant's decision.

"He (Richt) said he'd (Bryant) been admitted to ECU. That's the only thing I can tell you,'' said Emory, a former head coach for the Pirates. "I have not talked to him (Bryant). I know he had his heart set on going to Georgia. But he didn't get admitted by the admissions office, so this is a great opportunity for him.''

Emory has tried to contact ECU coach Skip Holtz about Bryant's situation, but he said Holtz and the rest of the coaching staff have been on vacation.

Richt said Bryant, who played quarterback and wide receiver at Richmond, was not denied by Georgia's faculty admissions committee, which had previously rejected other signees. But the NCAA Clearinghouse apparently had not approved Bryant for admission this fall, which led him to ask for the release.

"They (ECU) could guarantee that he could get in,'' Richt told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. "We couldn't.''

Bryant, a 6-foot-2, 195-pounder, first signed with Georgia after a stellar senior season at Richmond. He was the co-offensive player of the year in the Mid-Southeastern 4-A Conference after completing 77 of 159 passes for 1,276 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also rushed for 864 yards and 13 scores on 134 attempts, caught four passes for 93 yards and a touchdown, and averaged 37 yards per punt.

The Bulldogs won a recruiting battle over scholarship offers from the likes of Clemson, North Carolina, N.C. State and Tennessee for Bryant. But he failed to qualify academically and spent the past academic year at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia.

In early June, Bryant told The Rockingham Daily Journal that he had achieved a qualifying score on the SAT that would make him eligible to enroll at Georgia. Bryant, who played in just two football games at Hargrave after suffering broken ribs, told the Journal he had a 920 score on the SAT and had earned a 3.3 grade point average in four quarters at Hargrave.

But with the start of pre-season football drills scheduled to begin in less than a month, and his status at Georgia still being held up by the NCAA Clearinghouse, Bryant apparently decided to seek another place to play. ECU is an option because even if Bryant doesn't qualify academically, the Pirates can enroll him as a non-qualifier. Georgia does not accept non-qualifiers.

"He just wanted to be sure (he had someplace to play),'' Georgia's Richt told the Journal Constitution. "Plus, it's closer to home for him and will be a lost easier for his family to see him play.''

Bryant was scheduled to play wide receiver or defensive back at Georgia, but Emory said he could help ECU at any number of positions.

"He can play where ever you put him,'' Emory said. "He can play running back, linebacker, defensive back, wide receiver or quarterback. He can play. I would say they've got a choice to make, but that's the kind of player you want. He'll have a great career at East Carolina, if that's where he winds up.''

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02/23/2007 02:36:49 PM

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