Craig's Corner: O’Bryant Hopes to Be Selected in NFL Draft - The Missourian: Sports

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Craig's Corner: O’Bryant Hopes to Be Selected in NFL Draft

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Posted: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 8:15 am

Denodus O’Bryant is about to receive an opportunity most athletes only dream about.

A 2008 Washington High School graduate, O’Bryant is a promising running back/kick returner who figures to be in play for this week’s NFL Draft, which takes place Thursday through Saturday.

“I’m excited. I’m not nervous at all. I have a slight idea of what might happen, but you never know for sure,” O’Bryant said about the possibility of being drafted. “When I started playing football at Washington, it was just something for me to do. I never thought I would have this opportunity.”

Following a successful football career with the Blue Jays, O’Bryant moved on to Lindenwood, where he really took off.

In his four seasons with the Lions, O’Bryant was a two-time NAIA All-American and a two-time Heart of America Athletic Conference player of the year.

O’Bryant is Lindenwood’s all-time career leader in total touchdowns (62), rushing touchdowns (38), rushing yards (3,246), kick return yards (1,377) and all-purpose yards (6,126).

He averaged 7.2 yards per carry at Lindenwood, adding 15 receiving touchdowns and nine return touchdowns.

During his senior season, the Lions moved up to the NCAA Division II ranks, playing in the MIAA.

O’Bryant opened a lot of eyes with his performance at defending NCAA Division II national champion Pittsburg State, where he scored three touchdowns, all of which went for 80 or more yards, in a 44-33 victory.

He rushed for an 80-yard touchdown and added touchdown receptions of 80 and 87 yards against the Gorillas. He carried the ball 14 times for 147 yards in the game.

That was a special performance. You just don’t go to Pitt State and win, much less score on plays of 80 yards or more three times.

Many NFL Draft prognosticators list O’Bryant as a sleeper pick.

O’Bryant, 5-9 and 205 pounds, is going to get a chance to play in the NFL for one simple reason — speed. He can flat-out fly.

During his pro day at Lindenwood, O’Bryant ran the 40-yard dash in 4.31 seconds.

“There were 20 NFL scouts at our pro day who saw me,” O’Bryant said. “I had a really good day.”

Here’s what Shaun DePasquale of NFL Draft Zone wrote about O’Bryant:

“Denodus O’Bryant of Lindenwood is one of my favorite running backs in the NFL Draft. Not just a favorite small-school prospect, but a favorite overall running back. O’Bryant does everything well. He flashes big-league ability on tape, with the compact size at 5-9, 205, and breakaway speed to run away from defenders. Denodus has an uncanny ability to cut back against the grain and find an open hole, and he’s also a fine pass-receiving target out of the backfield. He is simply a jack-of-all-trades, and I love him.”

Jeff Duncan, O’Bryant’s head coach at Washington, looks for big things from his former player.

“I think Denodus’ potential is great. He has what every team wants and needs — speed. He’s a special talent,” Duncan said. “He had a great career at Lindenwood and has continued to improve. I’ve always thought that he had the ability to play on Sundays.”

Zach Schneider, Washington’s current head football coach who was an assistant coach under Duncan, hopes for the best for O’Bryant.

“Denodus is a great kid who has worked hard to earn this opportunity. I think he will have a shot in the NFL because he has speed, the one thing they are always looking for,” Schneider said. “In addition to his natural ability, he has really developed an ability to gain yardage in rushing, receiving and returns, and has the ability to score every time he touches the ball.”

O’Bryant said the teams that have expressed the most interest in him are Seattle, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Buffalo and Detroit.

He has not heard much from the St. Louis Rams, who lost Steven Jackson to free agency.

“It would be cool to play for the Rams,” O’Bryant said. “But I’ll be happy anywhere I go.”

Even if O’Bryant does not get drafted, which seems unlikely, he will surely get an opportunity as a free agent.

“I probably won’t watch the draft as much as people think,” O’Bryant said. “I’m just excited about the opportunity to play at the next level.”

It’s been an awfully long time, if ever, since an area player has been selected in the NFL Draft.

Borgia’s Brock Olivo and St. Clair’s Justin Skaggs signed free agent deals with San Francisco and Washington, respectively.

One thing we know for sure. When training camp rolls around in late July, O’Bryant will be wearing an NFL helmet. Don’t bet against the former Blue Jay.

/sports

Area Scoreboard

Area Sports Schedule

American Legion Baseball

Senior Legion

Tuesday, July 1

*Daniel Boone 14, Pacific 3

*Washington 20, Sullivan 5

Wednesday, July 2

*Daniel Boone 8, Pacific 2

*Washington 11, St. Peters 1

Thursday, July 3

*Washington 11, St. Charles 0

Friday, July 4

*Pacific at St. Peters    1:30 p.m.

Saturday, July 5

*Washington 20, Pacific 1

Sunday, July 6

*Washington 11, Warrenton 2

Monday, July 7

Washington 9, Creve Coeur 7

Blue Springs Wood Bat Tournament

Wednesday, July 9

Washington 7, Gravette Lions 0

Thursday, July 10

Washington 4, Post 339 West (Bellevue, Neb.) 2

Friday, July 11

Washington 14, Geiger Redi-Mix (Leavenworth, Kan.) 0

Washington 4, Hawthorne Outlaws (Lee's Summit) 2

Saturday, July 12

Quarterfinals — Quincy (Ill.) 4, Washington 1

Junior Legion

Tuesday, July 1

*Union 5, New Haven 0

*Union 7, New Haven 4

*St. Charles 12, Pacific 5

Thursday, July 3

*Union 13, Hannibal 2

*Union 10, Hannibal 3

*Elsberry at Pacific    7 p.m.

Saturday, July 5

*Daniel Boone at Pacific (DH)    10 a.m.

Union 6, Crocker 5

Union 13, Crocker 7

Freshman Legion

Tuesday, July 1

*Washington 16, Pacific 1

Wednesday, July 2

*Washington 11, St. Peters 0

Ninth District Tournament Schedules

Junior Legion

Tuesday, July 8

At Union High School

G1 (1) Elsberry 3, (8) New Haven 0

At Ronsick Field

G4 (3) Washington 7, (6) Wentzville 1

G4 (2) Union 8, (7) Hannibal 1

At St. Peters Rec-Plex

G2 (5) St. Peters 8, (4) St. Charles 6

Wednesday, July 9

At New Haven

G5 Wentzville 4, New Haven 0

G6 St. Charles 8, Hannibal 7 (9 innings)

At Ronsick Field

G7 St. Peters 5, Elsberry 2

G8 Washington 2, Union 1

Remainder at Ronsick Field

Thursday, July 10

G9 Union 7, Wentzville 1

G10 Elsberry 3, St. Charles 2

Friday, July 11

G11 Washington 12, St. Peters 11 (10 innings)

G12 Elsberry 6, Union 3

Saturday, July 12

G13 Elsberry def. St. Peters

G14 Championship — Washington 3, Elsberry 1

Washington wins district, to host Zone 1 Tournament at Borgia next week.

 

Ninth District Tournament Schedules

Freshman Legion

Tuesday, July 8

At Elsberry Legion Field

G1 (1) St. Charles 7, (8) St. Peters 0

G2 (4) Elsberry-Winfield 4, (5) Wentzville 3

At Elsberry Khoury League Field

G3 (3) Hannibal 3, (6) Warrenton 2

G4 (2) Washington 10, (7) West 1

Wednesday, July 9

At Elsberry Khoury League Field

G5 St. Peters 17, Warrenton 6

G6 Wentzville 5, West 4

At Elsberry Legion Field

G7 St. Charles 10, Elsberry-Winfield 2

G8 Washington 3, Hannibal 0

Remainder at Elsberry Legion Field

Thursday, July 10

G9 St. Peters 11, Hannibal 9

G10 Elsberry-Winfield 13, Wentzville 4

Friday, July 11

G12 Elsberry-Winfield def. St. Peters

G11 Washington 6, St. Charles 0, 8:30 p.m.

Saturday, July 12

G13 St. Charles def. Elsberry-Winfield

G14 Championship — St. Charles 5, Washington 2

Sunday, July 13

G15 If-Needed Game — Washington vs. St. Charles, 1 p.m.

Swim Team Schedules

Washington Swim Team

Date    Opponent    Time/Result

6-9    at Oaks Landing    Washington 192-100

6-16    Westglen    Washington 259-206

6-23    at Fox Creek    Washington 311-225

6-30    at Chadwick    Chadwick 264-258

7-7    Cherry Hills    Washington 291-140

7-11 at Division Meet, Westminster Christian

Pacific Swim Team

Date    Opponent    Time/Result

6-9    Lake of the Woods    LOtW 176-130

6-16    at Union    Union 289-220

6-23    Bridle Creek    Pacific 371-124

6-30    at Arbor Oaks    Pacific 282-241

7-7    at Indian Hills    Cancelled, weather

7-12    Division Meet    8 a.m.

Union Swim Team

Date    Opponent    Time/Result

6-9    at Arbor Oaks    Union 180-120

6-16    Pacific    Union 289-220

6-23    at Lake of the Woods    LoTW 312-201

6-30    Indian Hills    Union 322-275

7-7    Bridle Creek    6 p.m.

7-12    at Division Meet, Pacific    8 a.m.

Pacific Diving Team

Date    Opponent    Time

6-14    at MAC West    MAC West 40-30

6-21    at Lindgate    Lindgate

6-28    at Cool Dell    9 a.m.

7-13    at Championships    8 a.m.

Great Midwest Football League

July 5

Missouri Cyclones 22, Midwest Chargers 14

July 12

Missouri Cyclones at Missouri Valley Pitbulls, St. Charles High School, 5 p.m.

Ninth District Standings

July 1, 2014

District Games Only

Senior Legion

Team    Wins    Losses

West    11    2

Daniel Boone 262    9    3

Washington 218    11    5

St. Charles 312    9    5

Elsberry 226    8    5

Wentzville 323    5    5

St. Peters 313    7    7

Pacific 320    3    10

Warrenton 122    0    10

Sullivan 18    1    12

2014 Final Standings

Junior Legion

Team    Wins    Losses

Elsberry 226    20    2

Union 297    19    3

Washington 218    18    4

St. Charles 312    14    8

St. Peters 313    12    10

Wentzville 323    12    10

Hannibal 55    10    12

New Haven 366    9    13

Daniel Boone 262    5    14

Warrenton 122    3    16

Pacific 320    3    15

Sullivan 18    0    20

Freshman Legion

Team    Wins    Losses

St. Charles 312    20    0

Washington 218    17    3

Hannibal 55    16    4

Elsberry-Winfield 226    14    6

Wentzville 323    9    11

Warrenton 122    8    12

West    7    13

St. Peters 313    6    14

New Haven 366    5    15

Pacific 320    4    16

Elsberry 226    4    16

*Indicates League Games

Racing News