Pros Beckon: Hunter Bryant Declares Early for NFL Draft

Dan Raley

All year long, Hunter Bryant resembled an NFL tight end.

Big. Fast. Athletic. Special.

Five days after his coach left the program, Bryant has decided to do the same, bypassing his senior year at Washington and declaring early for the NFL draft. Unlike Chris Petersen's decision, Bryant's departure was no surprise.

On glitzy video posted on his Twitter account, Bryant narrated the following message: 

"It’s been a long journey. From the first time I picked up a football when I was five years old to playing at Eastside Catholic and winning championships with my brothers; from training at FSP to going to UW and winning a Pac-12 championship and playing in a Rose Bowl. I’d like to thank everyone who’s helped me out along the way — especially my family, my coaches, my teammates, but most importantly, the fans of Husky nation. With that being said, I’m declaring for the 2020 NFL draft and pursuing my childhood dreams of becoming a pro. I can’t wait to make the state of Washington proud.”

After two injury shortened seasons, Bryant stayed healthy and performed at a high level for the Huskies. He caught 52 passes, second in school history for a tight end, collected a team-leading 825 yards and he scored three times. He's been limited to 26 games over three seasons.

Leaving Eastside Catholic High School, he picked the Huskies over Oklahoma, showing his high regard.

Depending on how he grades out in his NFL physicals, Bryant could go as high as a first- or second-round pick, according to mock drafts. 

For decades, Washington has provided promising tight ends to the NFL, more recently Will Dissly to the Seahawks, Drew Sample to the Bengals and Darrell Daniels to the Cardinals, with Austin Seferian-Jenkins unable to stick on a roster this season.

"It's the extra work we put in," Bryant said of the UW players who man his position, in the video. "We meet before everyone else does, we look at the tape and understand the offense completely."

Bryant's departure will leave sophomore and fellow starter Cade Otton, another pro prospect, as the No. 1 tight end. 

It's unclear whether Bryant will play in the upcoming bowl game.