Dez Bryant is arguably one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. Not surprisingly, little has changed from ten years ago. In 2007, Bryant was rated as the ninth best high school receiver in the country.
How did a 6-foot- 1, 200-pound high school senior become a household name in Texas football? Two reasons: speed and an amazing set of hands. Since his days in Lufkin, Texas, Bryant has been terrorizing opposing defenses with his unearthly ability. Bryant accumulated 101 catches for 2,232 yards and 37 touchdowns during his two seasons playing for the Panthers.
During his junior season, Bryant helped lead the Panthers to a semifinal birth in the state playoffs before losing 46-28 to the eventual state champion Southlake Carroll Dragons. Bryant’s senior season didn’t go quite as planned. Round Rock eliminated the Panthers early in the state playoffs, but the legend of “Dez” had already been born.
Scouts fell in love with what he did on the field. What worried the scouts was what happened off the field.
Bryant grew up in what most people would consider a “rough” environment. Bryant’s mother, Angela Bryant, told Dallas News in 2010 that she sold drugs to provide for her family. The young wide receiver faced many hardships growing up in Lufkin but said he credits God with his success.
“The reason my mom sold drugs and went to jail is so we could live,” Bryant told SportsDay. “She paid a hard price for it. Now she doesn’t ever have to do anything like that again. God put me in this position to help my family and others who have helped me.”
Despite the turbulence and uncertainty surrounding Bryant, the four-star recruit was eager to make his family name proud. Eventually, the 18-year old Bryant committed to Oklahoma State after being recruited by Gunter Brewer. As the ninth ranked wide receiver, Bryant garnering attention from several big name schools aside from just Oklahoma State. Most notably, he received offers from Texas A&M, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas Tech.
Now, Dez Bryant is entering his seventh season in the NFL with 412 receptions for 5,825 yards and 59 touchdowns. He can now say that he’s no longer just a household name in Texas, but the entire country.