In April, the Seattle Seahawks selected former Cincinnati Bearcats cornerback Coby Bryant with the No.109 selection in the 2022 NFL Draft. You may recognize Bryant as the 2021 Jim Thorpe Award winner, given to the nation's best defensive back. Here's some more on number 8.
1. Coby is named after Kobe
Seahawks cornerback Coby Bryant was named after late NBA Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant, with his parents changing the spelling for uniqueness. Coby was born less than a year before the Los Angeles Lakers won the 2000 NBA Championship, the first led by Bryant and fellow Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal, leading to a miraculous three-peat from 2000-02. During his time at Cincinnati, the Glenville native and two-time First Team All-AAC selection wore the No.7.
But in the 2021 College Football Playoff Semifinals against No. 8 Alabama, Bryant sported the number worn by his namesake for 10 seasons.
Upon arriving in Seattle, Bryant was prepared to ask the Seahawks if he could wear the No. 8 - but instead they asked him to do the honors.
And Coby is picking Kobe over Lebron.
2. Glenville High: Leaving A Legacy
Coby Bryant is a native of Glenville, located on the East side of Cleveland. Glenville High is not only the alma mater of celebrities like comedian Steve Harvey, and NFL wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. - but also the home of the Bryant brothers. Before Coby patrolled the sidelines, the Tarblooders were led by his big brother Christian. The star safety would go on to start as a true freshman for the Ohio State Buckeyes, earning Second Team All-Big Ten honors in 2012. Bryant would be selected with the No. 241 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams. Bryant would play for four teams including two periods with the Arizona Cardinals in his four-year career. Christian battled with injuries throughout, dating back to breaking his leg against Wisconsin in 2012. He would finish his NFL career with the Cleveland Browns in 2017. In 2019, Christian would play for the Birmingham Iron of the Allegiance of American Football (AAF). Coby discussed his brother's tutelage and influence on him during his time at Cincinnati.
"He's been the best big brother I could ever ask for," said Coby, who's 6-1, 190. "Christian taught and still teaches me a lot. Each week I'm asking him something about school or about something on the field. I'm so grateful for my brother."
Christian now gets to watch his brother roam the field for the Seattle Seahawks, providing guidance every step of the way.
3. Mamba Mentality: Coby on Defense
During his time at Cincinnati, Bryant was a four-year starter, capping his career with 45 passes defended (No. 2 in Bearcats history). Like Kobe, Bryant played hurt - and performed at a high level doing so. In 2018, Bryant played nine games with a cast on his fractured hand, suffered in 2017 versus UCONN. Bryant ranked No.1 in the AAC in interceptions, passes defended, passer rating and completion percentage allowed for the 2021 season. Bryant was selected to First Team All-AAC honors in consecutive seasons.
"I was named after him for a reason," Bryant said in an interview with WCPO in December. "I just try to represent him as well as I can."
Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times picked Bryant as a name to watch to help bolster the Seahawks defense in 2022.
4. Baseball Background: Ball Tracking Assistance
While he may be named after late Los Angeles Lakers basketball star Kobe Bryant, Coby has used his baseball background to aid him on the football field. As a child, Bryant played baseball as a little leaguer and briefly at Glenville - aiding his ability to field the much smaller ball has helped him nab plenty of interceptions.
In 2021, Bryant discussed his baseball background with Justin Melo of The Draft Network.
"Honestly, I like to give credit and take it back to my baseball playing days," Bryant told Melo. I played some centerfield, first base, and I also pitched a little. I grew up playing baseball my entire life. That's what made catching the football an easier process for me. A baseball is obviously a lot smaller than a football. It taught me how to track the ball in the air. Once that ball's in the air, I'm calling it mine. It's either mine or nobody's. That's the mentality I try to keep with me when the ball's in the air because I know that ball production is so big at the next level. If you can make that many plays on the ball in the NFL, you can become a truly special player."
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5. Ted Ginn: Tarblooders Royalty
As aforementioned, Glenville High is the home of former NFL wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. Bryant played for Ted Sr., where he has served as head coach since 1997. The Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame member coached former Heisman winner Troy Smith; and Bryant becomes his latest NFL addition to his resume. In 2016, Bryant would help lead the Tarblooders to an undefeated 7-0 season in the Senate League at both cornerback and safety. In 2021, Bryant discussed the opportunity to play for one of the nation's most renowned high school coaches.
"Ted Ginn Sr., he has been great all around the program. He's like my uncle, I've been around him since I was like five years old. I've been around Ted (Ted Ginn Jr. NFL wide receiver), Donte Whitner (former NFL safety), Cardale Jones (former NFL quarterback), Marshon Lattimore (three-time Pro Bowl cornerback, New Orleans Saints), Frank Clark (two-time Pro Bowl defensive end, Kansas City Chiefs), Justin Hardee (wide receiver, New York Jets) and a whole bunch of guys that played in the league. It's great all around there. Not only for football, but to see coach Ginn every day doing the things he does for young men on the field and off the field. The high school is excellent in graduating young men, so it is a great school and he's a great coach."
6. Coby & Marshon: Glenville Boys
On October 9, Bryant and the Seahawks will travel to New Orleans to face cornerback Marshon Lattimore and the Saints. The former four-time NFL All-Pro is also a Glenville Tarblooder, and a major factor on Bryant’s play style.
"I model my game after Marshon Lattimore, he's a big brother to me. I've been watching him since I was seven years old, we grew up together so I kind of try to move myself after him," Bryant explained.
7. Influences: Legion of Boom
Growing up in a football household, Bryant watched plenty of tape - modeling his game after certain players. In addition to his brother Christian, and Lattimore, Bryant spent a lot of time watching the former Seahawks championship "Legion of Boom" secondary. Consisting of legendary Seahawks defensive backs Richard Sherman, Brandon Browner, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor - the Legion of Boom were big contributors for the 2013 Seahawks Championship squad. It was Bryant's father Ronnie that inspired him to watch and study the athletic, hard-hitting secondary.
Funny how things work out. The Seahawks will look to Bryant to force turnovers in the new scheme led by defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt.
8. Man With The Plan: Life After Football
Former Cincinnati Bearcat Coby Bryant saw time immediately as a true freshman, but that didn't interrupt his education. Bryant graduated from Cincinnati in four years, majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies. Outside of making it to the NFL, Bryant listed another plan upon graduation.
Former Seahawk and Legion of Boom member Richard Sherman was announced earlier this offseason as a member of Amazon Prime's Thursday Night Football coverage team. Maybe Bryant can pick up some tips on broadcasting from one of his football influences.
Check out photos of Seahawks fourth-round pick Coby Bryant from his 2022 offseason in Seattle. The cornerback out of Cincinnati was selected No. 109 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft.