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Taven Bryan won back-to-back state championships in high school as a two-way lineman.

Monday January 27, 2014Bryan Passed Offers Closer to Home to Become a Gator

Taven Bryan won back-to-back state championships in high school as a two-way lineman.

Scott Carter
By SCOTT CARTER Senior Writer

Florida newcomer Taven Bryan is one of nine early enrollees for the Gators this spring.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – He was what they call a “fast riser” on the recruiting trail in the spring of 2013.

He wasn’t the kind of blue-chipper you first might hear about as a 14- or 15-year-old, but by the time Taven Bryan finished his junior season of high school, schools such as Tennessee, Oregon and Nebraska had shown an interest.

And then on a hot day in June last summer, Bryan and his parents showed up unannounced at UF.

“I really didn’t have any plans on coming down to an SEC school,’’ Bryan said. “I didn’t think I would like it. My dad kind of convinced me to come down to Florida. I just kind of showed up one day. I was standing in the Gator Room and I called up one of the coaches.”

The rest of that day made Bryan realize where he wanted to play college football. He connected with Florida’s coaching staff. The campus was nice. He saw the potential to make a difference.

When Bryan verbally committed to the Gators late the following day, the news made the Associated Press wire back home.

Casper, Wyo., is known much more for producing rodeo cowboys than college football prospects. Bryan said he was your typical Wyoming kid growing up, more likely to be standing by a stream on Saturdays than tailgating.

“I never watched football,’’ he said. “I was always outside hunting and fishing and stuff.”

Bryan is one of nine early enrollees at UF this spring and played both the offensive and defensive lines in high school. At 6-foot-5, 257 pounds, opponents of Bryan’s at Natrona County High saw what Florida coaches did.

A raw, athletic and imposing player with a huge upside.

"He's a quality player,’’ Gillette (Wyo.) head coach Vic Wilkerson told the Casper Star-Tribune when Bryan committed to Florida. “He's 6-foot-5, 260 pounds. He runs well, has great feet for a lineman. He's big and strong, fast and physical.

“That makes for a good offensive lineman and a good defensive lineman.”

Bryan was instrumental in helping Natrona County go 41-6 the past three seasons, including back-to-back state titles in 2012 and 2013.

When asked what his goal is this spring, Bryan set the bar high.

“I want to play,’’ he said. “I’d like to have a 3.8 GPA or better.”

What does he plan to study?

“Biomedical engineering … they connect neurons in the brain to robotic hands and stuff. I think that’s kind of cool.”

Taking the road less traveled is one Bryan seems to enjoy.


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