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Bryant has 'flashed' early in fall camp

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Auburn freshman Markaviest Bryant has 'flashed' early in fall camp

Auburn buck Markaviest Bryant (1) works out Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017, during fall football practice at the Auburn Athletic Complex in Auburn, Ala.
Auburn buck Markaviest Bryant (1) works out Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017, during fall football practice at the Auburn Athletic Complex in Auburn, Ala.(Julie Bennett)

Markaviest Bryant doesn't have the nickname "Big Cat" for nothing.

He has quickly shown why he was such a highly-touted recruit and could make an immediate impact for Auburn's defense.

"Big Cat is a guy who's really flashed," defensive line coach Rodney Garner said. "He's really shown that he's going to have an opportunity. ... It gets your attention (as a player) that, 'Hey man, I got to really stay on top of my game or this guy, I'll look up and I'll be somewhere else,' because he's a kid that comes to work every day."

Bryant, who had a sack in the end zone for a safety in Auburn's scrimmage on Saturday, is vying for time at Buck, where Jeff Holland and Paul James III are the top two on the depth chart. Even before fall camp, he showed the physical and mental traits Auburn is looking for at the edge rushing position.

"He's not scared to take on blocks," linebacker Deshaun Davis said. "When you see him you feel like he's going to hold his own on the edge, but he does a good job of shooting his hands. Coach (Garner's) working with him every day and what I like about him is he take coaching. You don't have to tell him to do something two times. When you tell him one time he makes the correction."


Even when receiving Garner's relentless verbal barrage on the practice field, Bryant has supposedly not had an issue, which has been a problem for several players, especially true freshmen in years past.

"He didn't blink," Garner said. "He's like and old-school throwback as far as the way he looks at football. It's really, really, really, really important, which to me, it's really, really, really important. I've got a wife and kids and all that. Some of these kids don't get it."

That is not to say Bryant, who is listed at 6-foot-5 and 224 pounds but Garner believes is in the 235-240 range, does not have much to learn before his first college season. Having to take on Braden Smith, Darius James and Prince Tega Wanogho Jr., among others, has been a rude awakening. Not to mention H-backs Chandler Cox and Spencer Nigh.

"He's definitely having battles because it's so much more physical," Garner said. "It's a physical game. He's got to go out there and set that edge. He can't play soft. ... You got a 280-pound 3-back coming hitting you in your chin.

"Spencer's already built lower to the ground and Big Cat is taller so he's got to learn how to play up under his pads, under his chin line. He's got to strike him and strain and get him going back instead of absorbing all the blow. Just the physicality of it, it's still a work in progress."

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