The Next Step: An Interview with D.J. Bryant
Patrick D. Starr
To be a part of the Houston Texans is a great honor.
- D.J. Bryant, Outside Linebacker, James Madison University, Houston Texans
Five seasons at James Madison has helped shape D.J. Bryant to be the football player he is today, and then some. The Baltimore, Maryland native has gone from a redshirt freshman to the Dukes vocal leader on the field in 2011 to now one of the newest members of the Houston Texans. At 6-4 248 lbs., Bryant will be moving from his college position of defensive end to an outside linebacker when camp starts up.
In Bryant's final season with the Dukes, he garnered 2011 First Team All-CAA as a defensive lineman, 2012 Players All-Star Classic Invite and he also led the Dukes' with 13 tackles-for-loss and seven sacks. The combine total of yards lost between tackles-for-loss and sacks equaled 155 yards. As a college player, Bryant says he patterned his game after the Baltimore Ravens' Terrell Suggs and the Minnesota Vikings' Jared Allen, stating their "high energy and pass rush ability" is what he admires the most.
Bryant did not really think about his future in the NFL until his junior season when fellow teammate Mike Cuassin was picked up by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2010. It was at that moment he realized it could also happen to him. Realizing that he wanted to play in the NFL, Bryant leaned on his position coach, J.T. Price, and learned his craft and spent more time in the film room perfecting his game.
With hard work, and family as his motivation, his next step is with the Texans and he is ready to make it count.
First and foremost, welcome to Houston. Can you explain what you are feeling right now?
I am feeling excited and happy to be in Houston. I am a little nervous right now because I am being given the opportunity to play on the highest level of football.
Who has influenced you the most to get you to this point in your career?
I would have to say my brother because he is not able to play football anymore after becoming ill in college. He’s my biggest fan. I just strive to make him happy and make my family proud.
What does James Madison mean to you as a person and student athlete?
It means a lot. It gave me the opportunity to further my education and showcase my talent. James Madison presents a beautiful atmosphere with great people, including the coaches.
Did you have any idea that the Texans were interested in you pre draft?
Yes. I was informed te Tuesday before the draft that te Texans were keeping tabs on me.
The draft is happening, what were you feeling as the draft went on?
I was a little nervous. I couldn’t help but to think about where I would end up.
After the draft is over, who did you get calls from?
Carolina Panthers, Washington Redskins, Baltimore Ravens and, of course, the Houston Texans
Who was on the other line when the Texans contacted you?
The Texans contacted my agent first. I received my calls from Gary Kubiak and Wade Phillips.
Have you ever been to Texas and what do you know about the Texans?
I have never been to Texas. However, I know the Texans are one of the newer franchises in the league that have made great developments in a short time.
What is your mindset coming into camp?
Coming into camp I know I have to understand the playbook.. I need to be ready to play special teams as well as rush the passer.
You played defensive end at JMU, are you moving to the OLB position for the Texans?
Yes, I am moving to OLB. At JMU, mostly I played with my hand in the ground. However, there were some packages that I played standing up.
How would you describe your style of play?
I would say I am a high motor guy that can rush the passer. I give 100% every play.
What does it mean to be a part of the Houston Texans?
To be a part of the Houston Texans is a great honor. I am very appreciative that they gave me the opportunity to continue to play the game that I love.
You can follow D.J. Bryant on Twitter and you can welcome him to the Texans family.