Washington star TE Hunter Bryant announced this afternoon that he will be forgoing his final year of college eligibility and entering the 2020 NFL Draft.
The Marathon Continues... pic.twitter.com/OOnGFkYB4N— hunter bryant (@blackbeast88) December 6, 2019
Bryant led Washington pass catchers in receiving yards this season while racking up 825 yards on 52 catches with 3 TDs. He led the team in yards per catch among everyone with at least 8 receptions on the season. Especially towards the end of the season he became the go-to target for Jacob Eason and he showed tremendous growth in his blocking ability this year. Bryant is a finalist for the John Mackey Award given to the nation’s best tight end.
He was also a favorite target of Jake Browning as a true freshman before he suffered a leg injury which cost him the second half of the year. Bryant suffered a setback that required additional surgery over the offseason before his sophomore year but returned to play the back third of the schedule. He made two massive plays on the first drive of the 2nd half against Washington State to spark UW to an Apple Cup victory as well as a ridiculous one-handed grab against Ohio State in the Rose Bowl during a failed comeback bid.
Get— Washington Athletics (@UWAthletics) January 18, 2019
Hunter Bryant's grab in the Rose Bowl was your @UW_Football Catch of the Year.#PurpleReign // #GoHuskies pic.twitter.com/N2RGHJ1TEk
This is a move that has been heavily anticipated and will come as no shock to fans or the Husky coaching staff. Bryant could have been held out for one additional game last season to preserve his redshirt. When they didn’t choose to do so it became obvious that they knew such a move was pointless because he would be an early entrant to the NFL Draft no matter what. Just like with Byron Murphy it is unfortunate that Husky fans really only got about 2 seasons of playing time before he turned pro but Bryant certainly produced whenever he was on the field.
Most NFL mock drafts have Bryant listed in the late 1st to 3rd round range. At 6’2 he’s undersized as a TE but doesn’t quite have the speed of a typical receiver. A recent comparison has been Ole Miss TE Evan Engram who has had a nice start to his career with the New York Giants when healthy and was picked towards the back end of the 1st round. We’ll see how Bryant grades out at the combine but despite being a bit of a tweener he should see plenty of success at the next level given UW’s recent pedigree at the tight end position.
Washington may be without Hunter Bryant but they still have plenty of resources at the TE position. Cade Otton was a mainstay of the Husky offense and will likely be utilized more often in the passing game with Hunter’s departure where he showed himself more than capable throughout the year. Jacob Kizer and Devin Culp saw a little more playing time towards the end of the year and one will likely need to step up next season as a starter. Walk-on Jack Westover became a de facto fullback but is primarily a tight end. Washington also has 2 more good TEs in Mark Redman and Mason West that are coming in as true freshmen next year and are still pursuing recent USC decommit Jack Yary.
Best of luck to Hunter as he pursues his NFL dream!