CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Patrick Bryant has decided he’ll either be giving a verbal commitment on Sunday to Illinois or West Virginia.
The three-star wide receiver in the 2021 recruiting class from Jacksonville, Fla., announced on Twitter Wednesday that his college decision will be an either or proposition between the Illini or a Big 12 Conference power led by second-year head coach Neal Brown. Before announcing his final two candidates to secure his commitment, Bryant tweeted that he’d be making his verbal pledge on June 14.
Bryant has reportedly, according to 247Sports.com, ran a 4.87-second time in the 40-yard dash at the The Opening Regional prospect camp in February and the 6-foot-3 receiver also holds scholarship offers from Penn State, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Arkansas, Georgia Tech, Miami (Fla.), Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa and Indiana.
Bryant was offered a scholarship by Illinois on April 21 and is being primarily recruited by Illini wide receivers coach Andrew Hayes-Stoker. Hayes-Stoker joined Lovie Smith’s Illini staff shortly after he was named head coach and Hayes-Stoker worked under Smith with the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a total of nine seasons, including five in coaching roles. Illinois is hoping the potential of a commitment of Bryant to continue its tradition of solid recruiting efforts in the state of Florida.
“Andrew Hayes-Stoker is one of the brightest young coaches in the game,” said Smith when he hired Hayes-Stoker in 2016. “Since joining our staff with the Bears, I’ve seen him continue to learn the game and develop as a teacher. I know he’ll be outstanding in coaching our receivers and as a recruiter.”
West Virginia has been recruiting Bryant for over a year and is using former Purdue interim head coach Gerad Parker, who currently serves as the Mountaineers offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach, as his primary recruiter.
Bryant was a All-First Coast first-team selection by the Florida Times-Union and participated in the Legend's Football All-Florida Junior Showcase after earning 45 receptions for 684 yards and 11 touchdowns in his junior season at Atlantic Coast High School.
Wide receiver is clearly a pressing need for the Illini in this 2021 class as they’re due to lose leading targets Josh Imatorbhebhe, Trevon Sidney and Ricky Smalling to graduation and haven’t secured a verbal pledge of a full-time wide receiver in the 2021 recruiting class. Prince Green, a 6-foot-2 athlete has said he’d prefer to play both defensive back and wide receiver at the college level with Illinois but it is still unknown whether the three-star prospect from Georgia will get that opportunity.