Name: Taven Bryan
Why did he redshirt?
Bryan quickly found himself in the favor of the previous coaching staff. The athletic lineman enrolled early and got a head start in the weight room, the playbook and was able to participate in spring football. Bryan’s athleticism, strength and tenacity had him set to earn playing time as a freshman until a bout with strep throat derailed that. Bryan’s strep throat eventually forced him to have surgery to remove his tonsils and adenoids and he wasn’t cleared for practice again until the final week of the season, forcing him to take a redshirt.
Depth at the position?
It will be interesting to see the kind of defensive schemes that Geoff Collins will run but Bryan can play defensive end or defensive tackle, depending on the scheme. At tackle, the Gators return Jay-nard Bostwick, Caleb Brantley and Joey Ivie as players who have experience as well as other redshirt freshmen.
At defensive end, Bryan Cox, Jon Bullard and Alex McCalister return. Collins has shown that he, like the previous staff, likes to rotate his line to keep them fresh throughout the game. Bryan figures to be in the mix at both defensive end and tackle and should be firmly plated in the defensive line rotation in 2015.
Bryan’s biggest asset is his athleticism — which he displays from a very big frame. Bryan showed that he could play with leverage last spring, he knows how to stay low out of his stance and fire off the ball.
He is still learning how to use his hands more efficiently, something that his previous position coach worked on a lot with him. Bryan showed great natural size and strength and was a very coachable player, picking up on the finer nuances of the game that the coaching staff tried to team him.
Bryan was slated to play last season before getting sick and that shouldn’t change heading into this season. Bryan is a tenacious, hard-working defender who will earn the new coaching staff’s respect on the field this spring. Expect Bryan to work his way into the rotation on the line and be a solid contributor as a redshirt freshman.