Born within walking distance of the football stadium and having spent time throughout his youth at West Virginia, where each of his parents attended college and where his grandparents live, it had always seemed like a natural fit for Darien Bryant.
Bryant received the offer he's been awaiting for years.
But he had all but given up on getting a scholarship offer from West Virginia. All he was expecting out of his unofficial trip this weekend was free tickets, so that his mom could attend the homecoming game.
As it turned out, the 6-foot-4, 210-pound senior from Pickerington North High in Ohio ended up heading back to Ohio with a verbal scholarship offer from the Mountaineers.
“I went up for the game and stayed after the game and talked with coach Dunlap and Coach Casteel. [Casteel] asked if I had gotten mail, and he just said they were going to offer me,” Bryant said.
It was the culmination of years of dreaming for Bryant, who’s been to Morgantown more times than he can recall. His father, with whom he said he doesn’t keep in touch, played for the Mountaineers as well.
“I had just kind of given up hope. I didn’t really care about going to the game but with it being homecoming and my mom going to school there, it was my last chance to get her free tickets to a West Virginia game. I was just surprised when they told me, with it being so long,” he said.
His interest in WVU had waned as he’d come to the conclusion he’d never receive an offer from the ‘Eers, but that changed when he learned about the impending offer. He said his top four is WVU, Nebraska, Duke and Maryland, all of whom are among the 13 schools to have offered.
“Yeah, definitely. W being born at the hospital right next to the stadium and my mom going to school there, and having so many family members there right up the street, it’s always been something I’ve thought about,” he said.
Still, he’s not going to pounce on the offer, he said.
“I kind of felt like, a while ago, that if they offered I would probably commit on the spot, but with everything that’s gone on [in terms of waiting for an offer], it definitely makes me think,” he said.
Though Bryant is being recruited at tight end by most schools, WVU offered him as an outside linebacker.
“I’m not really sure. It’s the second defensive offer that I have gotten, so I guess that puts a different perspective on it. I really haven’t decided if I want to play offense or defense,” he said.
Bryant will visit Nebraska this weekend and isn’t sure what he’ll do after that. He’d like to wait until after the season to commit. And while he may be back to Morgantown for an unofficial visit, he said he’ll likely save his officials for schools that are harder – and more expensive – to travel to, since the schools pay for such visits.
Stay tuned …