1988 Bobby Dodd National Lineman of the Year

Junior Bryant, Creighton Prep (Omaha, Nebraska). DT/OT/TE 6’5” 270 lbs.

Junior Bryant, a powerful 6-5, 270-pounder, anchored the defense and led the Blue Jays to their fourth consecutive Nebraska state championship in 1988.

A two-time all-state selection, Bryant also was named Nebraska’s defensive player of the year, with 68 solo tackles and six quarterback sacks. He also plays in the offensive line, including tight end.

But Bryant’s story also is much more than just statistics. He had to sit out his sophomore season after being badly burned when a hot-water heater exploded on his family’s farm, according to his coach, Tom Jaworski.

“Junior faced a tough challenge when he tried to come back for his junior year after being burned,” said Jaworski. “He was determined going into that season to prove himself as a football player. He did, and he really impressed me.

“Junior is really a good kid. Not onty does he have a great deal of talent, he has done quite a bit with it,” added Jaworski. “He is an excellent leader, a very hard worker, and has a great desire to win.

“In the state championship game, for example, we gave up 21 points in the first half. But Junior’s leadership and desire played a big part in us shutting them out in the second half and winning the title.”

As of the last week of January, Bryant had narrowed his college choices to UCLA Southern California and Notre Dame. In fact, the day Jaworski was interviewed for this story, he had just finished playing host to Southern California Head Coach Larry Smith.

1988 Statistics:
Defense: 68 solo tackles, 8 QB sacks
Defensive Player of the Year in Nebraska


Posted on

January 18, 2016