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.

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Area Scoreboard

62nd Annual Borgia Pepsi Thanksgiving Tournament

Blue Division

Pool 1

McCluer North

Normandy

Carnahan

Pool 2

Cardinal Ritter

Pacific

Rockwood Summit

Gold Division

Pool 1

CBC

Soldan

Washington

Pool 2

Borgia

North Tech

Union

Monday, Nov. 24

CBC 77, Washington 52

Tuesday, Nov. 25

Cardinal Ritter vs. Rockwood Summit, PPD

Washington 63, Soldan 62

Borgia 83, Union 50

Wednesday, Nov. 26

Carnahan 71, Normandy 46

Pacific 64, Rockwood Summit 22

North Tech 67, Union 37

Thursday, Nov. 27

McCluer North 95 Carnahan 68

CBC 82, Soldan 55

Borgia 50, North Tech 45

Friday, Nov. 28

McCluer North 93, Normandy 39

Pacific 70, Cardinal Ritter 57

Saturday, Nov. 29

Blue Consolation — Rockwood Summit 47, Normandy 38

Gold Consolation — Soldan 78, Union 59

Gold Third Place — North Tech 63, Washington 57

Blue Third Place — Cardinal Ritter 71, Carnahan 46

Blue Championship — McCluer North 64, Pacific 58 (OT)

Gold Championship — CBC 67, Borgia 66

Boys Basketball

Monday, Dec. 8

Lutheran S 64, St. Clair 48

Borgia 61, Carnahan 51

Tuesday, Dec. 9

Lafayette 44, Washington 35

Friday, Dec. 12

Potosi 72, St. Clair 45

*Washington 69, Ft. Zumwalt North 65

Montgomery Co 62, New Haven 61

*St. Mary’s at Borgia    6:45 p.m.

Bourbon 75, Union 74

Glendale 63, Pacific 46

Saturday, Dec. 13

New Haven 46, Barat 40

Nixa 56, Pacific 46

Tuesday, Dec. 16

*Pacific 70, New Haven 35

*Hermann 67, St. Clair 49

*Ft. Zumwalt South 61, Washington 50

*Union 81, St. James 74

Friday, Dec. 19

*Owensville at St. Clair    4 p.m.

Washington vs. Parkway Central, GAC/Suburban Shootout, St. Charles Family Arena, 5:30 p.m.

*St. James at New Haven    6 p.m.

*Pacific 76, Union 57

Saturday, Dec. 20

Sullivan Shootout

Owensville vs. Rockwood Summit, 11:30 a.m.

Lindbergh 67, St. Clair 46

Jefferson City vs. Jackson, 2:30 p.m.

Washington 56, Lutheran South 54

Poplar Bluff 59, Borgia 49

Sullivan vs. Affton, 7 p.m.

Girls Basketball

Saturday, Dec. 6

Cor Jesu 63, Borgia 60

New Haven 46, Moberly 39

Monday, Dec. 8

Pacific 73, Rolla 40

St. Clair 68, Dixon 37

Washington 54, New Haven 15

Tuesday, Dec. 9

*Borgia 59, Rosati-Kain 38

Union 53, Northwest 44

Thursday, Dec. 11

*Borgia 60, Notre Dame 53

Union 81, Bourbon 53

Friday, Dec. 12

New Haven 45, Principia 30

*Washington 59, Ft. Zumwalt North 32

Saturday, Dec. 13

West Plains 76, Pacific 37

Monday, Dec. 15

*Pacific 46, New Haven 28

*St. Clair 59, Hermann 50

*St. James 64, Union 37

Sullivan Tournament

Cuba 48, Principia 27

Borgia 68, Patriettes 29

Sullivan 56, Pattonville 43

Owensville 78, Farmington 54

Wednesday, Dec. 17

Sullivan Tournament

Farmington 61, Pattonville 39

Sullivan 68, Owensville 64

Principia 55, St. Louis Patriettes 42

Borgia 56, Cuba 38

Thursday, Dec. 18

*St. James 72, New Haven 21

*Union 49, Pacific 48

Friday, Dec. 19

Francis Howell 55, Washington 48

Sullivan Tournament

Seventh Place — Pattonville vs. St. Louis Patriettes, 4 p.m.

Consolation — Farmington vs. Principia, 5:30 p.m.

Third Place — Owensville vs. Cuba, 7 p.m.

Championship — Borgia 62, Sullivan 35

Saturday, Dec. 20

Union at Waynesville    5 p.m.

Wrestling

Monday, Dec. 8

Maplewood 48, Borgia 30

Brentwood 47, Borgia 36

Winfield 48, St. Clair 36

St. Clair 42, St. James 40

Tuesday, Dec. 9

Pacific 55, North County 10

Jackson 63, Washington 12

Farmington 63, Washington 6

Wednesday, Dec. 10

Borgia 36, Lutheran St. Charles 34

Winfield 54, Borgia 30

Thursday, Dec. 11

Union 72, Ft. Zumwalt East 9

Union 52, Principia 30

Union 54, Winfield 27

Saturday, Dec. 13

Union Tournament    9 a.m.

Borgia at McCluer S-Berkeley Tny    9 a.m.

Pacific at Farmington Tny    9 a.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 16

Owensville 61, St. Clair 16

Union 48, Owensville 27

Union 65, St. Clair 18

Friday, Dec. 19

Washington at Raytown S Tny    TBA

Union at Cape Central Tny    TBA

Pacific at Ft. Zumwalt E Tny    TBA

Saturday, Dec. 20

Washington at Raytown S Tny    TBA

Union at Cape Central Tny    TBA

Pacific at Ft. Zumwalt E Tny    TBA

Girls Swimming

Monday, Dec. 8

Washington at Eureka    4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 9

Washington at Nerinx Hall    4 p.m.

LSC/OFC 134, Borgia 101, St. Dominic 83

Monday, Dec. 15

Borgia at Notre Dame (Forest Park)    4 p.m.

Kennedy 88, Washington 84

Wednesday, Dec. 17

Lindbergh 128, Washington 48

*Conference Games

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