It’s been nearly six months since Jaimie Bryant felt numb as he listened to doctors tell him his college football playing career at the University of Washington was over before he had played a single down. Not putting on football pads and a helmet is still hard to accept.
As the Huskies (8-5) prepare to play Oklahoma State (6-6) in Friday’s Cactus Bowl (7:15 p.m., ESPN) in Tempe, Arizona, the 2013 Tumwater High School graduate is making the best out of a tough situation. His contributions to the Huskies are now done behind the scenes and behind a lens as a team videographer.
“I like it so far,” Bryant said.
Back in July, UW announced Bryant’s medical retirement after hamstring cramps toward the end of spring workouts led to findings of a bulging disc in Bryant’s back. He said medical specialists deemed it too risky for Bryant to continue to play football.
“I didn’t know what to think,” Bryant said. “I didn’t hear the rest of the conversation when they said I couldn’t play football anymore.”
Bryant is still on scholarship at UW, and wants to be a dentist. At the team’s July media day when coach Chris Petersen first told reporters of Bryant’s injury, the first-year coach said he’d find somewhere for the 6-foot-5, 290-pound defensive tackle to be in the program.
That somewhere was on the video staff.
Bryant attends practice daily, filming the defensive line. A guy who barely knew where to find the record button a few months ago now can run the camera with ease.
Bryant might not be on the official roster, but is still part of the team, and calls it a “good experience.”
“I get to listen to all the funny things — it’s pretty cool and funny,” he said. “Every day, (the defensive line) messes with me.”
It has been a long, two-year ordeal for Bryant. He initially grayshirted (delaying his enrollment into the university) in what would’ve been his true freshman season in 2013 under former coach Steve Sarkisian. When Sarkisian departed for USC, Bryant was in limbo with the coaching change, but Petersen and his staff still honored Bryant’s scholarship. He signed his letter of intent and was part of Petersen’s 2014 recruiting class last February.
At Tumwater, Bryant helped the Thunderbirds win the 2010 Class 2A state title as a sophomore and helped the team back to the 2A state title game again as a senior in 2012.
GNAC PLAY RESUMES
The Saint Martin’s men’s and women’s basketball teams resume Great Northwest Athletic Conference play this week, as the calendar flips to 2015. The SMU men (4-8, 1-1 GNAC) travel to Montana State-Billings (2-10, 0-2) Thursday for a 7 p.m. New Year’s Day game, followed by a 7 p.m. tilt at Seattle Pacific (9-3, 1-1) on Saturday. The SMU women (3-7, 0-2) travel to Western Oregon (4-6, 1-1) at 2 p.m. Saturday.
The South Puget Sound Community College men’s basketball team ended 2014 winning four of its last five games to improve its record to 5-6 after a 99-94 victory Olympic on Tuesday, getting a career-high 29 points and 14 rebounds from sophomore Elijah Sanders, a Timberline High graduate. The Clippers have already surpassed last year’s two-game win total.
AROUND THE SOUND
A pair of Evergreen seniors — forward Brittany Gray (5-foot-9) and guard Sadee Jones(5-8) — lead the Cascade Collegiate Conference in rebounding, averaging 9.7 and 9.4 rebounds, respectively. Gray also averages 15.7 points per game, second-best in the CCC, and Jones is fifth at 13.6 points. … Yelm High graduate Anushka Maldonado, a sophomore at Odessa (Texas) College, signed a letter of intent to continue her women’s basketball career next season at University of Texas-Pan American, a member of the Western Athletic Conference. Maldonado is averaging 6.1 points and 3.8 rebounds for Odessa this season. … Western Washington men’s basketball senior forward Anye Turner, a Black Hills High graduate leads the GNAC in rebounding (8.4) and blocked shots (3.3) per game.