Representing New London CT, Aaron Bryant has overcome many challenges on the field and sets out to prove the Eastern part of CT has talent too!

by CTalentTv on October 24, 2011

Wuzzup Mr. Bryant, how did the HOT summer treat you? Good,  just enjoyed all that summer has to offer after finishing up with the season in Green Bay.  Enjoyed forward to cookouts, pool parties, amusement parks, all that.

Growing up in New London, CT what was life like for you? I hold New London close to me, something about the small city atmosphere that really kept me grounded and aspiring to do more. I moved around a lot as well so I was never scarred of change, it has been part of my life for such a long time.

What is the sports scene like in the Eastern part of CT? Eastern CT has a lot of talent that doesn’t get the exposure that the rest of the state may get because of the bigger cities overshadowing. There are definitely some ballers across the board, basketball football and even baseball.

I know you hear all about the talent in the Hartford, New Haven, or Bridgeport area, but do you think New London could hold their own against these cities in a football or basketball game? This is a question that I am always faced with. I can only speak from experience; the comparisons will always be talked about and I don’t like to get caught up in the on paper matchups. Any time we were able to get a Hartford, New Haven team on the schedule we were always well prepared. We handle business in the ECC (eastern Connecticut conference) because that’s where we are located geographically. New London always likes to step out of its “comfort zone” we appreciate a good challenge, I can remember the days when Lincoln (NY) nations premiere program stepped foot on our court, and it was one of the greatest HS basketball games I have ever witnessed. My personal record vs. bigger cities is in my favor, so to answer the question I think New London has just as good a chance if not better than most because of the chip on the shoulder.

In your opinion, who was the best CT high school football player that you have either played with of against? There were a few big names coming out of the ECC during my HS years. Lou Allen (Uconn), Maurice Mcclean (Nebraska), Lou Vasquez (Arizona State), JJ Justice (Maryland), Mathew Shaughnessey (Wisconsin) to name a few. Also I ran into some good competition as a player in the CT vs RI all star game as well. Lou Allen, former teammate and opposition was a great HS RB and went on to have success at UCONN, but when I think about who was the best player during that time span (not including post HS career) I would have to give credit to JJ Justice of Norwich Free Academy. Very versatile QB with run-pass option also played on the defensive side of the ball. With the supporting cast he had around him he was able to put up some crazy numbers on the ground and in the air.

Name the top 5 CT high school football players in your opinion? Top 5 coming out of CT, being that I didn’t get opportunity to see them play HS ball I’m basing this off of post HS careers, in no particular order:

Bill Romanowski Vernon LB

Dwight Freeney Bloomfield DE

Eugene Robinson Hartford Safety

Steve Young Greenwich QB

Doug Dubose New London High RB

Coming out of New London HS, did you ever think you were good enough to play D1 football? Absolutely, the confidence is the one thing that keeps me among the elite competition; I feel I can compete at any level still to this day. I knew that as a dominate HS athlete there are many others like you, and with hard work and perseverance I would aspire to play D1 ball. Even had some smaller D1 basketball programs on the horn, I just knew football was in my future.

On your first day of practice at UCONN, what were your thoughts about where you fit in at that level of football? Man I’m not going to lie; first day of camp was overwhelming. It’s a lot different when you are used to being a standout in all physical attributes, coming to Division I level where the competition is all big, fast and strong. Camp was always a battle for reps trying to prove you were game ready, I preferred to be on the field as opposed to on the sideline contemplating and analyzing everyone else.

Being a standout walk-on at UCONN, many people don’t realize the battle that you’ve faced day in and day out. What are some things you had to deal with as a walk-on? My understanding was that being a walk on meant being a non scholarship player. In my position that was understood and accepted being that I had enough academic scholarships to help pave a way for my education and football career at the division I level. What majority of walk-ons experience is totally different. The struggles ranged from duplicate jersey number, separated lockers, no training table meals provided, and lack of accredited playing time. I remember coming into camp year in and year out and beating out scholarship players left and right, continuously working up the depth chart, earning respect of players and staff around me, only to be placed behind the same scholarship players on the release of the depth chart. Everything that I dealt with really gave me tough skin, luckily for myself earning the respect of teammates and proving to myself I was worthy of the play time really made me strive harder, a better person and a better player and aside from having the pel grant extra money in the pocket, and a little bit more of the respect and play time earned I wouldn’t trade my experiences with anyone else, scholarship or non scholarship.

What has the experience been like playing in the IFL (indoor football league)? My experience with the IFL has been great opportunity to continue my playing career. Couple degrees under my belt at this point, when things fell through with the NFL I almost became content selling insurance doing the 9-5 cubicle job. The moment I stepped foot back on the football field after nearly a year off I knew that I still had it in me to ball. The indoor/arena game is a lot different, it is highly competitive and very physical, I like the style.

What is your ultimate goal in playing football? What I’m really trying to do is continue to do what it is that I love on a daily basis and make due while chasing a lifelong dream. Not everyone is blessed with the opportunity to do so. Real world requires money; bills add up quick, it’s a lot different than college. Right now I am enjoying myself as I continue to build my resume and aspire to make upward movements.

What would you tell a youth growing up in CT who doesn’t really get a chance to see success in athletic due to his environment? As cliché as it sounds, do not let anybody tell you what you can or can’t do. I think the generalization is that 1% of youth athletes make it professional, and kids raised in the state of CT probably have lesser chance. My word to the kids is do not become a victim of circumstance, there is a perception that CT does not have the talent that other geographic regions produce, be the one do defy these negative perceptions.

By: Seven

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