Fort Dorchester High School has produced some big-time football talent over the years. Three former Patriots - cornerback Byron Maxwell and defensive ends Robert Quinn and Carlos Dunlap - are currently starters on NFL teams.
C.T. LOWNDES SERTOMA CLASSIC
When: 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday
Where: Johnson Hagood Stadium
Tickets: $12 each
Thursday: Porter-Gaud vs. Lincoln; Baptist Hill vs. Cane Bay; Hanahan vs. Summerville; Stratford vs. Timberland; James Island vs. St. John's; Goose Creek vs. West Ashley.
Friday: Academic Magnet vs. Stall; Palmetto Christian vs. Garrett; Burke vs. First Baptist; Pinewood Prep vs. North Charleston; Northwood vs. Military Magnet; Wando vs. Bishop England.
Next in the line of outstanding defensive prospects from the Fort is senior nose guard Eurndraus Bryant, affectionately known as "Big E." The moniker fits.
THIS WEEK'S GAMES
Colleton County at Cane Bay, 7:30 p.m.
James Island at Hanahan, 7:30 p.m,
Woodland at Ashley Ridge, 7:30 p.m.
Fort Dorchester at South Florence, 7:30 p.m.
Summerville at Providence (N.C.), 7 p.m.
Johnsonville at Berkeley, 7:30 p.m.
Battery Creek at Bluffton, 7:30 p.m.
Orangeburg-Wilkinson at Edisto, 7:30 p.m.
Baptist Hill at Allendale-Fairfax, 7:30 p.m.
Georgetown at Conway, 7:30 p.m.
Estill at Porter-Gaud, 7:30 p.m.
Robert E. Lee at Dorchester
Coastal Christian at Laurens
Academic Magnet at Lincoln, 6:30 p.m.
Burke at Garrett, 7:30 p.m.
Bryant is a 6-2, 330-pound beast of a teenager and he creates havoc in the middle of Fort Dorchester's defensive front. He not only can stop any inside running game, but also had eight sacks as a junior.
For kicks, when the Patriots' offense gets inside the five-yard line and needs tough yardage on the ground, head coach Steve LaPrad inserts Bryant at fullback, where he can serve as a road-grader or score touchdowns himself.
"I love the chance to score touchdowns," Bryant said. "Everybody loves to score touchdowns."
LaPrad says Bryant's ability to impact a game rates right up there with Fort Dorchester's pro alumni.
"When you talk about Quinn and Dunlap, you think of all the things they have done since they left high school," LaPrad said. "As far as importance and impact that he can have on our team, Big E is better than all of them. He's freakish. He can throw a football 65 yards on a line right now, better than anyone we have. I tell every recruiter that comes through here, nobody they are recruiting can block him. He's as good as I've had."
Bryant has been compared favorably to former Clemson and NFL great William "The Refrigerator" Perry.
"He played before I was born, but I know who he is and it's really an honor to be mentioned along with someone who was so good," said the soft-spoken Bryant. "I know he was a great athlete for a guy his size. I try to be a great athlete, not just a big guy playing football."
Bryant is definitely an athlete. He bench presses 405 pounds and squats 690 pounds. During the spring, Bryant is a starter on the school's baseball team and has led the team in home runs the last two years. Some of his homers clear high school fences by more than 50 feet.
Baseball, in fact, is his first love. He started playing at a young age and made quite a name on the travel ball circuit, belting long blasts on short fields and winning home run derby contests as an 11- and 12-year-old.
"Baseball was always my favorite," he said. "I love baseball. I love hitting. I didn't start football until the seventh grade but I was able to continue playing baseball in high school. I think some people we play, they don't realize I can hit because of my size. If they throw one in there, I'm gonna hit it, sometimes a long way."
Bryant realizes his baseball days will end after the 2015 season and that football is his ticket to a college scholarship and perhaps a healthy living in the NFL.
Kentucky, East Carolina and Wake Forest are three of many scholarship offers he has received. South Carolina, Clemson and North Carolina are showing solid interest as well. More offers are expected as the season progresses, and Bryant says a decision will likely come after the season.
"Some of these places, the schools that are offering me, I have never been to so I think I need to make some visits and see what each school has to offer," he said. "It's pretty amazing what has happened to me. I never dreamed football could do so much for me."
For now, Bryant is focused on his senior season with his teammates.
"It's not about me, it's about Fort Dorchester and doing what I can do to help us win a state championship this season," said Bryant.
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