Bryant bringing his game north?

Keith Bryant

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In the Southeastern Conference, the battle in the trenches cannot be won by fringe prospects or a mere handful of players. Depth and talent are precursors to controlling the front.

As Tennessee looks to its depth chart in the future, it has work to do in recruiting to stockpile defensive linemen.

The Volunteers took a hit recently when Darrington Sentimore declared early for the NFL Draft. Willie Bohannon and Steven Fowlkes graduated. Freshmen Omari Phillips and Trent Taylor were kicked off the team.

Others out of eligibility following the 2013 season include Maurice Couch, Daniel Hood, Daniel McCullers, Corey Miller, Jacques Smith and Marlon Walls.

With an eye to the future, coach Butch Jones and his staff are trying to to turn over new leaves to get defensive linemen to fax over signed letters of intent come Feb. 6. Among those is Keith Bryant.

The FOX Sports NEXT four-star is rated the No. 18 defensive tackle in the country. He told InsideTennessee.com he will officially visit the campus in Knoxville on the weekend of Jan. 25.

Bryant enjoyed his time in the Lone Star State as a U.S. Army All-American.
(Danny Parker/InsideTennessee.com)
"I really want to visit Tennessee and experience it because I hear they have like no defensive tackles," Bryant said. "That's a big thing for me because that means playing time right away."

The possibility to play as a freshman in the SEC is a notion that intrigues the Atlantic (Fla.) High School product.

"Oh, that'd be big, be real big. The SEC is the best," Bryant said. "Yeah, I'm ready for all that."

The 6-foot-2, 310-pounder is fresh off competing for the East team in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas.

"The week was hard, it was rough, but I love it," Bryant said. "That's what I love, love working hard. If you ain't working hard, you ain't getting nothing out of it. You're just taking the easy route. You're going to get piss poor results."

The East came out on top 15-8 after a late touchdown in the fourth quarter. The Delray Beach, Fla., native seemed pleased with his play.

"I stacked the running back up in the backfield a couple times, so I think I did pretty good," said Bryant, who estimated his tackles total to be around three.

Bryant had originally committed to Miami (Fla.) exactly one calendar year from today. He opened his recruitment back up in December. He may still wind up being a Hurricane but schools like Florida State and Tennessee are knocking on the door.

Tennessee assistant coach Willie Martinez is his lead recruiter to Knoxville. Martinez coached Bryant's brother while at Olympic Heights (Fla.) High School. The now-Vol defensive backs coach was the defensive coordinator back then in 1991 and is a native of Hollywood Hills, Fla.

"(Martinez) seems like a pretty good dude," Bryant said. "I've never met him but over the phone, he seems like a good guy."

Bryant says to look for his final decision on National Signing Day.

Danny Parker is currently the Managing Editor, Recruiting Analyst and Staff Photographer for InsideTennessee.com. He was previously the sports editor at Shelbyville Times-Gazette. He joined the InsideTennessee team July 2011.

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