Posted: 2:17 pm Wednesday, February 6th, 2013
By Matt Porter
DELRAY BEACH — Growing more than comfortable with his role as a showman this recruiting season, Keith Bryant made it clear he had a bag of tricks ready for national signing day.
Before his announcement, Bryant walked around campus all day with a bag of hats. There was little drama when he finally did – he picked up one that was garnet and gold.
Bryant, a 6-foot-3, 305-pound defensive tackle, was expected to choose Florida State and he did, capping a recruiting journey that is best described as circus-like.
Bryant lavished in the attention and played it to the hilt, giving hints that he might sign with FSU, Miami, South Carolina, Tennessee, Southern Cal, Oklahoma, Auburn and Kentucky, among many others. There was the ill-fated flirtation with FAU that ended with he and teammate Todney Evans being dismissed from an official visit for being disrespectful.
But Bryant maintained he was just having fun, and that’s how he played his moment, smiling through a live broadcast on ESPNU.
“I will be attending the Florida State University,” he said for ESPNU’s cameras, before explaining that his bond with the players and coaching staff, plus the opportunity to stay relatively close to his 1-year-old daughter, Kaniyah, helped make his decision.
“Signing day is a family affair,” Atlantic principal Anthony Lockhart said, moments after Bryant’s family held Kaniyah’s arm as she did her first Seminole Chop.
Bryant’s older brother, Henry, said the decision was made a month ago, and was further solidified when Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher made an in-home visit to Bryant’s house, rather than sending assistant coaches to see him at home and school.
“Al Golden didn’t come to the house,” Henry Bryant said, claiming Miami and South Carolina’s coaches didn’t extend the same effort as FSU. “Steve Spurrier didn’t go to the house.”
Atlantic teammate Brisly Estime felt a little more stress than Bryant during his recruitment. At different points over the past year, the 5-foot-9, 185-pound receiver and kick returner believed himself headed to Miami, Purdue, Marshall, Iowa State and Arkansas. A week before signing day, however, he held no scholarship offers. Thankfully, a late offer from Syracuse came.
He was at ease during the ceremony, wearing his ‘Cuse hat. It was the only one he brought. “I don’t do the hat tricks,” Estime joked.
Elsewhere, Evans chose Middle Tennessee State over Western Michigan. He said the opportunity for early playing time at MTSU made up his mind. Running back Tevin Spells signed with Tennessee State after the ceremony. Defensive back Fritz Narcisse signed with Virginia Beach Institute, which will compete at the Division III Juco level this fall.
Tight end Sam Kelly, who suffered a serious ankle injury his junior year and incurred a six-week suspension the first week of his senior year, signed with Bethune-Cookman.
“I felt like that was going to stop me from playing college football,” Kelley said. “I learned from my mistakes.”
In non-football news, baseball player Cody Bryant signed with George Washington and soccer player Susan Ford signed with North Florida.