Gray native is taken in fourth round of draft
Jones County native Harrison Bryant, who graduated from John Milledge Academy in Milledgeville and went on to Florida Atlantic where he won the Mackey Award his senior season as college football’s top tight end, was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL draft last Saturday.
Bryant, who had 65 receptions for 1,004 yards and seven touchdowns as a senior, was the first player from a non-power 5 conference to win the Mackey award.
“I’m really, really excited to join the Browns,” Bryant told Cleveland area media on a conference call after the draft. “I hope I bring a lot of versatility to the team. I can line up wherever I’m asked. I welcome the chance to continue to develop as a pass catcher. I think I made the best of my opportunities at FAU, and I will look to make the best of this opportunity with the Browns.”
Bryant becomes the fourth tight end on the Browns’ roster, joining recent free agent signee Austin Hooper from the Falcons, former firstround pick David Njoku and Stephen Carlson.
But new Browns’ coach Kevin Stefanski doesn’t think that is too many. He often uses two tight ends at the same time in his offense and said he welcomed the chance to add a player of Bryant’s caliber.
Stefanski was offensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings last season, and 57 percent of the plays he called had multiple tight ends on the field, the most of any NFL team.
Bryant played football and baseball at Jones County High School before transferring to John Milledge before his junior season.
He had been a lineman for the Greyhounds and continued to play offensive and defensive line for John Milledge as a junior.
He made the shift to tight end as a senior, saying that a couple of catches he made on tackle-eligible plays in a playoff game his junior year prompted John Milledge coach J.T. Wall to agree to the change.
A GISA all-state player as a junior and senior, Bryant caught 39 passes for 608 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior and had 100 tackles with 11 sacks on defense.
He was recruited as a defensive end by Samford, but when Samford offensive coordinator Travis Trickett was hired by Lane Kiffin at Florida Atlantic, he suggested signing Bryant as a tight end.
He finished his college career with 148 catches for 2,137 yards and 16 touchdowns. That included six catches for 79 yards against Ohio State in the Owls’ opening game of the 2019 season.