Former FCS Player Falls Victim to Prank Text Messages That Promised NFL Tryout

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Juantarius Bryant received the text every undrafted free agent dreams about. He was invited to Georgia to try out for the Falcons after the team's defensive coordinator, Dean Pees, had texted him the invite—or so he thought. 

When the former Austin Peay cornerback showed up to the first day of rookie minicamp on Wednesday, the team turned him away and informed him that nobody from the organization had contacted him. Bryant was texted by someone with an Atlanta area code in what turned out to be a cruel hoax. 

"It's most definitely one of the most embarrassing things that has ever happened to me and a very humbling experience," Bryant said in a Twitter post. "Just want to apologize to everyone and the Atlanta Falcons organizations for the mix up. I honestly thought it was a legit opportunity on my end." 

In an email, Bryant told ESPN that he did not want to comment on the situation any more than he already had, but it was clear he was hurt by the entire ordeal. 

"I honestly would not like the person who pulled this stunt on me to be publicly humiliated," Bryant told ESPN in an email. "I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy."

Bryant was a walk-on for Austin Peay, an FCS football program in Tennessee, where he was named a first-team All-Ohio Valley Conference defensive back his senior year in 2019. Before that, he was named to the second team after the 2018 season. 

In his 43 appearances for the Governors, Bryant accumulated 242 total tackles, one interception, eight passes defended and three forced fumbles. 

Bryant's manager, Corey Alexander, tweeted his frustrations and said he'd been in contact with the Falcons. 

"Juan has handled this situation with class," he tweeted. 

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