Often overlooked when the top offensive linemen for the class of 2006 in Ohio are mentioned, Bryant Browning of Cleveland Glenville High School is the anchor of the offensive line on a team that is expected to make another significant run in the playoffs this coming season.
In the May edition of Ohio High Magazine, Browning was ranked as the 30th top prospect overall in the state but six other offensive linemen are rated ahead of him. And in a story focused on eight of the top offensive linemen in the state in that same issue, Browning's name isn't even mentioned.
But the college recruiters certainly haven't ignored Browning. Currently Iowa, Michigan State, Northwestern, Boston College, Kentucky, Cincinnati, Miami of Ohio, Ball State, Eastern Michigan and Akron have extended him a scholarship offer while others like Ohio State continue to show an interest in him.
"Right now everything with recruiting is going really good for me," Browning said. "A lot of schools are coming up here and checking with Coach (Ted) Ginn about me and a couple of coaches have called me up on the phone and talked to me about coming up to their school."
A whole new world is now opening up for Browning who will become a three-year starter at right tackle for Glenville when the upcoming season gets underway.
"Schools that I would watch when I was growing up are coming to see me because they want me to come to their school," Browning said. "As a kid I never thought I would have an opportunity for this to happen. Colleges are calling my house now and growing up you never would think that would be you."
Even when he first got to high school and he watched some of his former Tarblooder teammates being recruited by big-time programs from across the country, Bryant still never imagined that he would be in their same position down the road.
"When I was younger I could see how the other seniors had colleges looking at them and I never thought that would be me," he said. "But Coach Ginn would always tell me that if I would keep working hard then one day it would be me. And now it's happened."
And Browning couldn't be any happier about the situation that he finds himself in right now.
"I'm real excited because I have colleges looking at me and now I can make a choice or pick the school that I want to go to," he said. "I don't have to wait until the last second and go to just any old school because I have a choice to pick my school, and I could go for free."
From the looks of it, education is obviously a big deal in the Browning family. Both of Bryant's parents went to college and his older brother Robert is currently attending Georgetown University.
"My brother graduated number four in his class (Glenville 2003) with a 4.2 or 4.3 GPA and I've always tried to compete with him and keep mine up there too," he said. "I have a 4.1 or 4.2 and I'm number one in my class right now."
It's an achievement that Browning proudly equates with his individual success that he's having on the gridiron.
"It shows that you can play sports and you don't have to be the class clown, that you can still excel at both your work in the classroom and on the field," he said. "I rate them just the same because I feel that if I'm not doing good in class then I shouldn't have the opportunity to play football. So I've always had a goal that for me to play football I would have to keep my grades up."
That same academic intellect translated to the gridiron should allow the 6-3 3/4, 320-pound road-grader to play anywhere along the offensive line at the next level.
"I played guard against Mentor (first game) last year and the rest of the season I started at offensive tackle," Browning said. "Probably because of my height I might end up playing inside at guard or center in college. I've played guard and center before so it shouldn't be a problem."
Rankings aside, Browning (#70 pictured below) is undoubtedly one of the top offensive line prospects in the state for this year and, certainly, he's destined to become the first big-time offensive line recruit to ever come out of Glenville.
"I feel like I'm in the elite top of the class," he said. "I don't feel like I'm the best but I feel like I'm up there close if I'm not the best. I feel like I did well in every game against all of the top teams in the state. I feel that I performed pretty well against some of the best teams so I feel that I should be somewhere at the top."
He's got more than just the requisite size going for him.
"I'm a hard worker, I'm smart, I have okay feet and I'm good at making key adjustments during the game," Browning said. "And I feel that I'm equally good at run blocking and pass blocking. I do good at both of them. On pass blocking I have good enough feet to stay with a pass rusher or stop a blitzing linebacker, and on run plays I'm good at firing off and locking on to whoever I've got to lock on to."
And he's anxious to do whatever it takes on offense this season, be it on the ground or in the air, to help his team get even deeper into the playoffs than last year. Glenville made it farther than any other Cleveland public school team ever last season but they lost in the state semifinals. And they may field their most talented team yet this coming year.
"It's all about winning the state championship now. That's it," Browning said. "And I need to be a good leader to my linemen and the whole team and help get everything working good together so we can win the whole state this time."
And when the right time comes, whenever that may be, Browning will decide where he'll attend school at on the next level.
"I probably won't make any decision until next year after I go on some visits. I want to visit some colleges and see what school, I feel, best fits me," he said. "I would like to go to Ohio State from watching them back when I was a kid. I've been to quite a few games down there and it's a loud crowd and a nice environment."
Glenville has sent more than their fair share of players to OSU over the past four or five seasons but that certainly doesn't guarantee Browning a spot in their 2006 recruiting class. Already fellow Tarblooders Rob Rose and Ray Small have been offered a scholarship to Ohio State.
"It would be nice but I really have to check out other schools first to see what school best fits me," Browning said. "But we'll see. I want to win that state title first."
Browning will take the ACT on June 4.