MACON, Ga. — Markaviest Bryant came into Rising Seniors week with offers from a lot of big-time programs, including Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Ole Miss and South Carolina.
He had never spoken to a head coach on the phone before. Well, until this week.
Bryant told DawgNation after the Rising Seniors game, which features the top juniors in the state of Georgia, that UGA head coach Kirby Smart called him and extended an offer.
“That was real special,” Bryant said. “I’d never spoken to a head coach before — even on the phone — so I am always going to remember that phone call.”
The 6-foot-4, 226-pounder from Crisp County in South Georgia has zero stars, but he picked up that offer and an Alabama offer after his work at practices this week. Bryant said he spoke to Smart and assistant coach Kevin Sherrer on the phone Tuesday.
“They said they like how I move for my size and how versatile and explosive I am for my size,” Bryant said. “They said they like how I can put my hand down on the ground and also move around in space. They said they look at me as a Leonard Floyd-type how they can move me around and put my hand down.”
Bryant said he’s playing at outside linebacker, defensive tackle and defensive end for his high school this year. Smart really liked that.
“He told me I was a helluva player,” Bryant said. “He said he watched my film and said he liked my nickname ‘Big Cat’ and that I am going to be a good player. He said to take care of all the little things like my grades and handling things the right way.”
He said he grew up a Florida fan.
“I like Georgia now because of Coach Smart,” Bryant said. “Those Georgia guys have been all over me this week like Breon Dixon and Richard LeCounte II.”
He plans to make a decision on National Signing Day in 2017.
“I am one of those guys you can expect to see put five hats on the table,” Bryant said.
Jeff Sentell covers UGA football and UGA recruiting for AJC.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges.