Bryant Team Preview

New Bryant head coach Quad Sanders will experience many “firsts” this season. One will be taking in the season-opening Salt Bowl game against rival Benton from the sideline. In five years as a Bryant assistant, he coached high above the War Memorial Stadium field in the press box. This year, he will lead the Hornets out of the tunnel after taking over as head coach this summer when Buck James, who led BHS to five Class 7A state championships, resigned to take the same job at conference rival Conway.

 “That is going to be all new for me,” said Sanders, who took the Jonesboro head-coaching job in March but resigned in June. “This will be my first time on the field, and I will have a better view. I don’t really know how it is going to be, but I know I won’t pay much mind to it once I first walk on the field. It will be exciting and loud, but I won’t notice once the ball is kicked off.”

 Despite James’ absence, Bryant, which holds a 53-game in-state winning streak, will once again be preseason No. 1 by most pundits, with a glut of key contributors returning and a talented sophomore class prepared to chip in. 

Jordan Walker (6-2, 210) will be the team’s starting quarterback. Walker started every game last season and shared some time with Gideon Motes, who was injured for much of the season, late in the year. Sanders said Walker continues to work on the mental side of the game and has impressed on the summer 7-on-7 circuit. He currently holds a scholarship offer from UNLV.

 Senior David Pagliante (6-3, 250) transferred from Joe T. Robinson last season and saw some action under center while Motes was injured. This year the burly Pagliante will also fill in at tight end, receiver, and running back. Sophomores Jeremiah Motes (6-1, 185), Bryant Davis (6-1, 175), and Matthew Ferguson (6-1, 175) add depth. Davis could see snaps in the secondary and Ferguson at receiver or defensive back. 

 Senior James Martin (5-9, 195) leads a deep and talented running back corps. Last fall, Martin shared snaps with Chris Gannaway, who signed with Lindenwood (Mo.) University. Junior Daniel Anderson (6-0, 205), who played sparingly last fall, was the talk of the recruiting world this summer landing offers from Notre Dame, Mississippi State, and Tennessee after attending camps there. Sanders calls junior Myron Thrash (5-8, 195) a “combination of Martin and Anderson.”

 Junior Preston Howlett (5-7, 175) and Zach Kertis-Jones (5-8, 185) add depth. Classmate Kollin Robinson (5-10, 185) could also figure in after transferring from Episcopal Collegiate this summer. His older brother Khalen “KK” Robinson starred on the Bryant basketball team before transferring to a prep school and currently plays at Arkansas-Little Rock. 

 Senior receiver Mytorian Singleton (5-9, 185) burst on the scene as a sophomore, making some key plays down the stretch in the 2021 Class 7A state championship game. He has an offer from Arkansas State. Junior Karter Ratliff (6-5, 205) impressed Sanders with his ability to use his size a season ago and expects a “breakout season” this year. Senior Cason Trickey (5-11, 190) saw a more prominent role last season and classmate Shawn Rycraw (6-0, 175) has “been having a good summer, and I hope he can keep it up,” Sanders said. 

 Seniors Nick West (5-11, 175) and Justen Myles (6-1, 190) will also compete for time. Classmate Josh Maxwell (5-8, 175) is a program stalwart, who will see much action on special teams. 

Juniors Wesley Vandeventer (5-9, 175) and Carter Sims (5-9, 170), along with sophomores Caleb Tucker (6-1, 170), Keenan Latin (5-1, 185), Van Thomas (5-10, 175), and Kamauri Austin (6-3, 175), who has an offer from Marshall, add depth. 

 A veteran offensive line returns. Junior Cario Terry (6-3, 275) started every game at left tackle as a sophomore. Senior Tate Settle (6-3, 290) mans the left guard spot. Classmate Matthew Elder (5-10, 300) is back at center. Junior Matt Burk (6-3, 280) is penciled in at right tackle after starting last fall. Senior Brandon Bates (6-2, 250) could see snaps “at any position other than center.” Senior Conlee Billingsley (5-10 275) is also competing for snaps. 

 Sanders mentioned there is a large group of juniors and sophomores who add depth and will contribute majorly next season. 

 A trio of kickers are competing for the job. Junior Jackson Cook (5-10, 175), brother Asher Cook (5-10, 175), a sophomore, and classmate Grayson King (5-10, 170), could all play week to week, according to Sanders. If one of them does not punt, the quarterback Walker could fill in or senior William Kirby (5-10, 180) could handle the punting duties as well as adding depth in the secondary. 

The Hornets defensive line suffered a blow when four-star senior defensive end TJ Lindsey announced he was transferring to the prestigious IMG Academy before summer workouts began. As a result, senior Nick Biskey (6-4, 240) is moving from his tackle spot inside to end. Classmate Eli Hill (6-2, 255) impressed with his 6-foot-7 wingspan, until an injury sidelined him.

Sanders has high expectations for senior Keith Hills (6-3, 275) inside. Junior Landon Sehika (6-2, 245) and senior Omar Sanchez (6-2, 265) are competing for the other tackle spot. Junior Byron Allen (5-11, 280) could also see snaps inside. Junior Jordyn Canfield (5-10, 265) is also in the mix after moving from the offensive line. 

Talented sophomores Jayden Jones (5-10, 225), Malachi McDonald (5-10, 290), Terrance Ellis (6-0, 250), and Anthoni Matthews (5-10, 270) add depth on the line. 

 Senior linebacker Sebastian Oltmans (6-0, 210) is the Hornets’ returning leading tackler and a three-year starter in the middle. Junior JT Allen (5-9, 195) returns at an outside spot after starting every game last fall. Junior Nick Miller (6-2, 190) had “a huge spring;” Sanders hopes that carries over as Miller contends for the other outside spot. Senior Dylan Enis (5-11, 180) and juniors Nick Baker (6-1, 185), who moved from receiver, and Ryan Reynolds (6-3, 190) seek snaps. Reynolds may also figure in at end, Sanders said. Sophomores Matthew Nelson (6-5, 190), Thomas Cornelius (5-10, 220), Gavin Momon (5-11, 180), and Mason Noel (5-10, 215) add depth. 

 Senior Drake Fowler (6-2, 170), a three-year starter, is one of the better safeties in Arkansas and has committed to the Air Force. Senior Brendon Bennett (6-2, 180) started some last season at the other safety and is penciled in as the starter as junior Tristan Knox (5-10, 170) battles for snaps there. 

 Senior Bryson Adamoh (5-11, 185) returns at cornerback and has a handful of college offers, including UNLV and UCA. Senior Harold Lynch (6-0, 185) starts opposite Adamoh.  Senior William Kirby (5-9, 175) will fight for some reps.

 Junior Jayden Welch (5-11, 180) is also in the mix at cornerback, as is classmate Matthew Glover (5-8, 170) after contributing on special teams last fall. Sophomores Andre Kimball (6-1, 185), TaDayVuan Wilson (6-0, 190), and Trey Battle (6-0, 165) add depth in the secondary. Battle’s brother Darrick Rose was a three-year starter in the Hornets secondary and plays at Henderson State, and Wilson’s brother Tamuarian Wilson was a star defensive back for the Hornets and currently starts at UCA.