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January 13, 2012
Coming into this season, it was hard to find a tight end as highly regarded as George Bryan, who was coming off of back-to-back first-team All-ACC honors. However, the 6-foot-5, 265-pounder got off to a slow start and his numbers took a significant hit. He was able to close the season strong, though, and finished with 19 catches for 193 yards and two scores over the final four games.
On the year, Bryan tallied 33 receptions for 331 yards and four touchdowns while starting every game for the first time in his career. He also kept his streak of All-ACC honors alive and earned a nod to the league's second-team although his catch total was the lowest since hauling in 18 passes as a redshirt freshman.
Bryan was elected as a team captain during his senior campaign, alongside of defensive tackle J.R. Sweezy. The native of Castle Hayne, N.C. finished his NC State career as the only tight end in program history to earn All-ACC first-team honors twice and he was also a semifinalist for the 2010 Mackey Award.
Bryan's career stats include the seventh-best reception total in school history (126), in addition to 1,323 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns through the air. His 17 scoring catches are tied for fourth in school history and he owns the Pack's tight end receiving records for catches and touchdown receptions.
For comparison's sake, Clemson's Dwayne Allen, who just completed his redshirt junior campaign and is widely regarded as the Draft's top tight end after he earned consensus first-team All-American honors and the Mackey Award this fall, finished his career with 93 catches for 1,079 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Bryan is still on NFL scouts' radars thanks to his entire body of work at State, but his stock has slipped from where it was after his junior season; he was a guy expected to contend for All-American honors following his junior season. He struggled with consistently catching the ball this year, but has proved to have good hands during his five years on campus and definitely has a future in the league.
His blocking has improved as time has gone on and, while he won't impress anybody with his time in the 40-yard dash, he has an excellent frame with great strength. He's also shown the ability to be a true red zone threat - the only NC State players who have ever recorded more touchdown receptions are wide outs Torry Holy, Jerricho Cotchery and Jarvis Williams; two of those players had lengthy NFL careers.
Bryan will be a sleeper at tight end and clocking under a 5.0 in the 40-yard dash would give him a significant boost in the eyes of scouts, although he may not hear his name called until the fifth round or later - the fourth round would probably be best-case scenario for the productive athlete. He's the perfect fit for a smash-mouth offense that wants a physical tight end capable of blocking and also making an impact in the receiving game.
NationalFootballPost.com ranks Bryan as the No. 5 tight end available in the Draft and the No. 168 overall prospect in the land. Meanwhile, Pro Football Weekly lists the tight end as the No. 6 draft-eligible player at his position and the No. 204 overall prospect. PFW assigned Bryan a seventh-round grade. NFLDraftScout.com lists the big man as their No. 9 tight end and the No. 183 overall player.
Bryan has been selected to East-West Shrine game, which will be played on Jan. 21 in St. Petersburg, Fla. The game will be broadcast on the NFL Network with coverage starting at 4 p.m. Bryan will play for the West team.
More in The Wolfpacker's NFL Draft prospects series:
NFL Draft prospect: T.J. Graham
NFL Draft prospect: Russell Wilson