Ardmore graduate Brayden Bryant signs to play football at University of North Dakota

Beau Bearden
The Daily Ardmoreite
Ardmore graduate Brayden Bryant, who helped lead the Tigers to a state runner-up finish in 2018, signed Wednesday to play football at University of North Dakota.

Brayden Bryant will be the first to tell you that life is full of difficulties.

The Ardmore High School graduate had several Division I programs show interest until he suffered an injury in Week 5 of the 2021 season.

Some schools pulled their offers, but the Butler Community College lineman didn’t let that stop him as he signed Wednesday to play at University of North Dakota.

“The injury was extremely tough,” Bryant said. “It was very mentally draining, but my parents, my coaches and teammates helped me out. They made it a lot better. It affected recruiting a little bit, but ultimately, everything happens for a reason. I’m happy with what I have and I’m happy to be part of (North Dakota).”

And that optimistic attitude is exactly what Ardmore head coach Josh Newby remembers of Bryant’s time with the Tigers.

“What we love about Brayden is he’s a positive young man,” Newby said. “He’s injured, but he’s going to overcome it and be better. Brayden is the kind of guy that you want your son to grow up and be like.”

However, that’s not all that Bryant brings to the table.

He also has several intangibles that make him a talented lineman. He proved that by helping lead Ardmore to a state runner-up finish in 2018.

“He has an internal drive,” said Tigers offensive line coach Mark Linney. “You don’t have to get him pumped up, you don’t have to fuss at him or make him work hard. He has that internal drive and works hard on his own. That’s what makes him special.”

The praise doesn’t end there though, as Bryant knows just how important Ardmore’s coaching staff was in his development.

“It definitely means a lot for coach Newby to open back the doors for me,” Bryant said. “Just showing that I’m still welcome here. That means the most. I have a really good relationship with all the coaches still. It’s great to be back and share that with them, because ultimately they put me in the position to do this. It started here (at Ardmore).”

Now that journey continues at North Dakota where Bryant looks to make an impact for the Fighting Hawks. They finished the 2021 campaign with a 5-6 record, but five of those losses were by single digits.

But at the end of the day, playing football isn’t the only reason why Bryant chose North Dakota.

“Obviously, it’s a really good degree, and looking at that, it’s the flagship university of North Dakota,” Bryant said. “Then the football program is rich in tradition — they’re established in their conference. And I feel like they’re on the verge of doing something really special, so I wanted to be part of that and help lead to that.”