Starting July 17, Ardmore’s Brayden Bryant will be joining family members in doing what they do best, protecting and serving.

Starting July 17, Ardmore’s Brayden Bryant will be joining family members in doing what they do best, protecting and serving.

Bryant comes from a long line of Carter County’s finest, with his father Chris Bryant currently serving as sheriff. His grandfather Harvey Burkhart served as sheriff from 2001-2007.

It comes naturally Bryant to protect and serve based on his families history, but he is doing things a little differently than the paternal members of his family.

Protect and serve takes on a whole new meaning for Bryant on July 17, as he enters the next stage of his life as a member of the United States Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Bryant was a member of the Ardmore Tigers football team that finished as a 5A state runner-up in football this past season. As a member of the offensive line, Bryant was tasked with protecting the quarterback, in hopes of helping the team put points on the board.

Now headed off to college, Bryant will be protecting quarterbacks at the collegiate level before enlisting into the military and protecting the country, something he is looking forward to.

“I am anxious,” Bryant said. “I am excited about the aspect of being in the military, getting to wake up and go do military things. Obviously getting to play football too, but I am more excited for the military aspect of it.”

For the next four years Bryant will continue his football playing carer with the Air Force Flacons before enlisting in the military for at least five years after. 

While in school,
Bryant looks forward to majoring in behavioral science and hopes to help military service men and women once he receives his degree.

“I am excited for the opportunity that I have in front of me,” Bryant said. “Of course I am going to miss my family and friends, but I am excited to join and be a part of it (the military).”

Besides serving in the military, Bryant is also looking forward to playing football at the next level.

In his final season with the Tigers, Bryant was selected to the OSSAA 5A all-state team for his efforts.

Unfortunately, the All-State game will be played on July 26, after  Bryant’s enlistment date. Although he will not play, the honor alone makes Bryant proud.

“It meant a lot, it is something I have worked for ever since I got the starting job as a sophomore,” Bryant said. “To be recognized in that group is an honor.”

Bryant’s teammates Sitani Lemeki and Tero Roberts were also named to the squad as well as Tigers offensive line coach Mark Linney who will be the head coach of the West Team.

“It is awesome, he (Linney) deserves that,” Bryant said. “I think all the coaches on the Ardmore staff deserve to be coaching, but I am excited for him, he deserves that and he will do a great job at it.”

Bryant’s father Chris, knew this day was coming eventually, but is still sad to see his son go. Now instead of watching his son from the sidelines on Friday nights at Noble Stadium, Chris will make the trip to Colorado as often as possible to see him play in college.

“It is going to be tough, he and I are very close,” Chris said. “Ill probably have some separation anxiety because I am used to seeing him everyday. I am proud of him, he has worked his behind off to get to where he is at and he has done all of this on his own.”

No matter where Bryant’s life takes him during his time in College, Ardmore will always be his home.

There is always one place Bryant can be found when he returns home during the fall, watching his alma mater from the stands at Noble Stadium on Friday nights.

“When I have the opportunity on to come back on Fridays I will watch them and cheer them on,” Bryant said. “It is fun to get to play on Friday nights, there is nothing that can compare to it, not everyone gets to do that.”