Tell cornerback Myles Bryant he has good hands, he will agree — and he has the purple-and-white football on his desk to prove it.
Suggest to the University of Washington sophomore he holds his own down near the line of scrimmage, he will smile. He likes the contact.
But mention his size – the Pasadena, California, product is listed at 5-foot-8, 180 pounds – and he will look at you sideways.
“You’re the first person to tell me,” he said after practice Tuesday, not trying to hide his sarcasm.
Redshirt freshman Byron Murphy might have been the star of the show Friday night with his two interceptions in the UW’s 30-14 victory at Rutgers, but Bryant easily has the best all-round game among the defensive backs.
Of his seven tackles, five were solo – second-most on the team. One of those was a tackle for loss on a completion late in the third quarter.
And his two pass breakups were most in the secondary.
“I am extremely proud of him,” Huskies co-defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake said. “For game (No.) 1, I really loved his tape. It was excellent.”
Lake said Bryant’s versatility makes him a valuable piece to the puzzle on defense.
“Right now, he can play nickel, corner(back) and safety for us,” Lake said. “He really is our Swiss Army knife. He can do it all.”
Of course, many remember Rutgers’ opening series first where Bryant just missed tipping a third-down pass away that resulted in Kyle Bolin’s 3-yard touchdown connection with Janarion Grant in the left flat.
“I was pretty close,” Bryant said. “Fingertips away.”
After that, wherever a Scarlet Knights’ ball carrier was, Bryant was not far from the action.
With his ability to cover and tackle, Bryant is a mixture of the NFL duo of Antoine Winfield and Tim Leonhard, size included.
“He’s smart, wired the right way, loves (football) and studies it,” said Lake, a former safety at Eastern Washington University. “He plays with a big chip on his shoulder.”
That “chip” almost led him in another direction.
Coming out of Loyola High School, Bryant received an early scholarship offer from the Huskies, but would not go all-in and give an oral commitment.
“I wasn’t ready at the time,” Bryant said. “A couple of schools were talking to me ... and they were on the verge of offering me.
“But they didn’t.”
UW coaches still gave Bryant the opportunity as an invited walk-on, which he took. And last season as a true freshman, he played in 11 of the team’s 14 games.
Before the start of this season, UW coach Chris Petersen awarded Bryant a scholarship.
And during fall camp, Bryant dazzled coaches with his ability to pick off passes. His seven interceptions led the team.
For his effort, not only did Lake present Bryant the best-hands football for the defensive back to keep, the assistant coach made a 30-second highlight video of him that went out on Twitter.
“B-Murph (Murphy) was mad he did not end up getting it,” Bryant said. “He ended up getting two picks (against Rutgers). I was glad for him, but I wanted my opportunities to come.
“It will come down the road.”
Despite losing 67 points on votes, the Huskies moved up one spot in the Associated Press media poll Tuesday — to No. 7. They went from 1,150 points last week, to 1,083 this week. ... Even with all the wildfire smoke and ash floating around Montlake, the UW practiced outdoors Tuesday morning in Husky Stadium.