By Hale McGranahan.
Four-star signee Austin Bryant will arrive to Clemson this summer with a legitimate chance to crack the five-man rotation at defensive end.
Bryant, who graduated on Saturday from Thomas County Central High School, was one of three defensive ends signed by Clemson in February.
“I’m just eager to get to Clemson and start the journey,” he said, during a recent interview with TheClemsonInsider.
“Until then, I’m just working out and preparing for that.”
The regiment is a “full-body” workout that includes plenty of conditioning.
“That’s the biggest thing,” Bryant said, “Being in shape.”
Bryant will hit the weight room with just about anybody, as long as they’re willing to offer him a spot.
“I’m not picky,” he said. “I work out with my best friend (Ernest Harris). He’s going to Hutchinson Community College, so I workout with him sometimes, work outwith some of the younger guys at the high school.
“So whoever is willing to spot me, that’s who I work out with.”
With the departures of Vic Beasley, Corey Crawford and Tavaris Barnes to the NFL, there was going to be ample opportunity for Bryant to get early playing time. The need intensified last week when redshirt sophomore Ebenezer Ogundeko was kicked off the team.
“Nothing’s promised, so I’ve got to continue to work like I’ve been doing since the season ended,” Bryant said. “The chips will fall where they’re supposed to. I can’t really worry about that situation. I’ve just got to do the best I can and everything will work itself out.”
Ideally, Bryant would come in and help fill in the production lost with last season’s senior trio, which combined for 17 sacks in 2014.
Defensive ends coach Marion Hobby hopes Bryant will eventually emerge as a pass-rush threat, sort of like the Tigers’ all-time sack leader.
“Not anywhere close to where Vic Beasley is when he graduated, but kind of that same guy, but with a different frame,” Bryant said. “I mean, that’s been my understanding of it.
“I just want to get to where he was when he left, so I’ll continue to work as hard as I can and maybe one day I’ll be at that point.”
Bryant is also excited about joining a program that’s won 10 or more games in each of the last four seasons.
“I’m so anxious to get there and start my journey, because they’ve built themselves up over the last couple of years,” he said. “And it’s one of the who’s who of college football right now. I’m excited to have the opportunity to be able to play there these next four or five years.”