Sept. 22, 2012

Lead The Way (Christian Bryant)

As far as outstanding student-athletes go, Ohio State has never lacked role models or mentors. With traditions that carry on year after year and a reputation as an athletic powerhouse, the Scarlet and Gray take pride in each and every individual that passes through its doors. One thing is true – every Buckeye leaves behind a legacy for others to follow.

Christian Bryant, a junior defensive back from Cleveland, Ohio, is one of the many who has chosen to follow in the footsteps of former Buckeyes.  Coming to Ohio State after a successful career as a Glenville Tar Blooder, Bryant has never had a shortage of role models to follow.

At Glenville, Bryant had the incredible opportunity to play under renowned head coach Ted Ginn, Sr., who served as a powerful mentor to Bryant throughout his high school career.

“He’s an incredible guy,” Bryant said. “He leads and shows people the way. He tries to give people structure in their lives and redirect their path.”

Bryant saw Ginn not only as a coach on the field, but also as a role model off the field.

“I really feel like he was all for just helping people,” Bryant said. “That’s what motivates his life, just helping people.”

When deciding to come to Ohio State from Glenville, Bryant found himself in the same situation as several previous Buckeyes. Troy Smith, Ted Ginn, Jr., Donte Whitner, and Jermale Hines, to name a few, were all predecessors on the beaten path from Glenville to Columbus. Following the journey of these former Tar Blooders to study and play football at Ohio State is not something Bryant has taken lightly.

“I’m just trying to follow behind those guys after seeing all the accolades that they achieved at Ohio State,” Bryant said. 

Although Bryant personally has no shortage of former athletes to go to for advice, this season brought him yet another mentor to add to the list. Mike Doss, an Ohio State defensive back from 1999 to 2002, has made an impact in Bryant’s life both on and off the football field.

“Mike Doss and I became close early in the summer,” Bryant said. “Ever since then, we’ve just been talking every now and then.”

Playing the same position is not the only thing Doss and Bryant have in common though. Doss wore No. 2 when he played for Ohio State and has happily given advice to Bryant about living up to their shared number as well.

“He (Doss) is always giving me pointers about the game and also just telling me I have to hold down the No. 2 for him,” Bryant said with a laugh.

Though Ohio State football and being a student-athlete consumes much of Bryant’s life, he admits he has role models  “off the field” too.

Outside of football, Bryant admires his parents more than anyone else.

“My parents taught me a lot of things such as how to carry myself as a man growing up in Cleveland,” Bryant said. “And they taught me about getting somewhere in life.”

After talking about his parents, Bryant grinned when asked if he had any siblings.

“Yeah, I have a little brother,” Bryant said, still smiling.  “He’s 14 and his name is Coby, Coby Bryant.”

Bryant admitted that he strives to be a role model for Coby.

“I try to be a role model for him,” Bryant said. “We talk almost every week just to see how he’s doing in school and on the football field. I try to give him words of encouragement and help him in any way he needs it.”

Between his former coach, Ginn, and his new friendship with Doss, as well as his connection to all the former Tar Blooders who found success at Ohio State, and his parents, Bryant has quite a few role models to look up to and go to for advice.

With so many positive influences in his life, it’s no surprise Bryant has become a role model himself. The smile of pride on his face when mentioning his little brother tells it all – he’s no longer just looking for advice, he’s ready to give some too.

By: Kaitlin Watterson, Athletics Communications