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May 15, 2012
Dallas Jackson is the National High School Sports Analyst for Rivals. Email him your questions and comments at DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.
Of the top 15 running backs in the class of 2013, six are from Florida and so choosing one to represent the South in the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge could have presented a difficult challenge until the top-ranked Greg Bryant expressed his interest.
"I felt like it was a chance to show that I am the best in the country," Bryant said. "I am excited that I can go out and show what I can do."
Bryant is the No. 4 running back in the country and the top-ranked in Florida.
The Oklahoma commit said that he wasn't surprised to be a part of the invitation-only event but that he is very excited to get to Atlanta and showcase his ability.
"There won't be a place to get more exposure," he said. "It is a place that I can show I am the best."
As part of the offensive design at Delray Beach (Fla.) American Heritage, Bryant said that much of his time is spent running the ball and not catching passes out of the backfield.
He only had nine receptions as a junior - but averaged 30 yards per catch and scored two touchdowns.
"It isn't really what we do there," he said. "It is mostly a strong running attack and we don't pass too much."
Bryant carried the ball 224 times for 2,180 yards and 25 touchdowns in 2011 and helped his team to a 12-1 record and a Class 3A state title.
Despite the lack of receptions, Bryant said that he isn't worried that it will hold him back come June 22-24 at Lakewood Stadium in Atlanta.
"I played receiver in eighth grade so I can catch," he said. "The moved me to running back and I have thrived there but I can catch and I like running the routes."
According to Bryant the biggest hole in his game is blocking and that is something that he can not work on in during the summer circuit but his effectiveness in the passing game is.
"I need to work on pass protection," he said. "I know that if I want to play early that I will have to get better there.
"But for this summer stuff I do get to work on my route running and that is something that will make me a complete player, too. There are things that you can take away from every opportunity and I think that is the biggest thing."
As part of the inaugural Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge, Bryant thinks that getting out and competing in the summer is important. Even for a player that likes to be lay low like he does.
"I like going to the beach and working out, but staying pretty quiet is my normal summer," he said. "But when I get the chance to improve it is something that I think everyone should do if they don't want to fall behind.
"Everyone out there is trying to get to the NFL, we are all already going to college, so sitting it out is only going to set you back."
Mike Farrell's take
There is a hot debate amongst all the recruiting analysts in the country in regards to who is the top running back in the state of Florida since it's loaded this year but our guy is Bryant and we expect him to cement that status at the challenge. He is a big kid and a downhill runner, but he has played receiver before becoming a running back and he has the speed to make a short catch into a long gain. We will see how shifty he is in space for a big man and if he can be a weapon in 7 on 7 because running backs can often be under utilized.