Edge rusher Markaviest Bryant joins the Tennessee football Volunteers.
Was this why Tennessee football added Kevin Steele so quickly despite the hiring freeze? If so, it worked out. The Vols just picked up a major addition to their program, assuming everything goes to plan in the future with Jeremy Pruitt.
Defensive end Big Kat Bryant, a graduate transfer from the Auburn Tigers, is now joining Rocky Top. Bryant will remain with Steele, who was Auburn’s defensive coordinator the entire time he was there, and also reconnects with UT outside linebackers coach Shelton Felton, who was his coach when he played high school ball at Crisp County in Georgia.
A second-team All-SEC selection in 2020, the 6’5″ 250-pound edge rusher had three sacks, an interception a 17 overall tackles, 10 of which were solo, in nine games this past season. Once a three-star recruit on Rivals in 2017, he will have one year of eligibility left, 2021, and announced his decision to join Tennessee football on Twitter.
Your leadership and guidance has gotten me to where I am today! Blessed with the opportunity to play on the same field with you again @shelton_felton ! Once my coach, always my coach 🤝 #COMMITED @DansleyAnsley @CoachJPruitt pic.twitter.com/DUi8lLtSW6
— BigKat Bryant (@BigKat) January 17, 2021
Bryant can play defensive end or linebacker, making him the perfect fit for Pruitt’s and Derrick Ansley’s 3-4 scheme. In four years at Auburn, he came away with 10 sacks, 11.5 tackles for a loss, three interceptions, a pick-six, four pass deflections, two forced fumbles, a fumbler recovery and 56 tackles, 30 of which were solo.
In two games against the Vols, Bryant has one and a half sacks, a pass deflection and seven tackles, two of which were solo. This past year, when they faced off, he had a sack and four tackles, one of which were solo.
Given the in-season dismissal of Kivon Bennett and the offseason transfer of Deandre Johnson, Bryant is a huge addition to Rocky Top. Pruitt has been trying to rebuild depth at edge rusher for years, and losing Darrell Taylor, Bennett and Johnson all within a period of two years certainly hurts that.
As a result, amidst all the negative news surrounding Tennessee football right now, adding Bryant is a major positive for the Vols. It will be interesting to see what happens with the program going forward, but Bryant will definitely be beneficial in 2021.