Penn State adds Colorado assistant director of player personnel D.J. Bryant to recruiting department

Greg Pickel02/01/23
Article written by:On3 imageGreg Pickel


Penn State football coach James Franklin at a Nittany Lions wrestling match. (Althouse/BWI)

Penn State has added another experienced college football staffer to its recruiting department. The Nittany Lions are hiring former Colorado assistant director of player personnel D.J. Bryant as a recruiting coordinator, a source confirmed to BWI.

Bryant is a Maryland native who spent three seasons on the Buffaloes’ staff. He was hired by the PAC-12 program and its former head coach, Karl Dorrell, in 2020 and was described as the “lead recruiting assistant” before the 2021 season.

“Buff Nation, from the bottom of my heart I just want to thank you,” Bryant wrote in a statement posted to social media. Thank you for accepting me and my family with open arms. Coach Dorrell, thank you for giving me an opportunity that I could have only dreamed for. Thank you for pouring into me, helping me become a better man of faith, husband, dad and football coach.

“What’s understood should never have to be explained, and know I love you coach and I will always have your back. Players and parents, thank you for trusting me and letting me help develop your young boys into men – that’s something that I hold dear to my heart. My time at Colorado has come to an end, but I know great things are ahead and I’m looking forward to the next chapter of my life.”

That next chapter will be at Penn State. Bryant joins just-hired former Syracuse staffer Khalil Ahmad as a recruiting coordinator for personnel and recruitment on James Franklin’s staff.

Led by General Manager of Personnel and Recruitment Andy Frank and Director of Player Personnel Kenny Sanders, the recruiting-focused staff also includes director of recruiting content Caleb Tyler, recruiting coordinator for communication strategy Hunter Carson, recruiting coordinator for operations and visits Catherine Kennedy, assistant recruiting coordinator for operations and visits Shannon Wellman, recruiting coordinators for personnel Alan Zemaitis and Chris Mahon, and assistant recruiting coordinators for personnel Rashad Rich and Rashad Elby.

Get to know new Penn State recruiting staffer D.J. Bryant

A three-time state champion at Randallstown, Md., High School, Bryant was a defensive end at James Madison. He made 123 career tackles (29 for loss) and recorded 13.5 sacks. As a senior, he was a second-team All-American and first-team All-Colonial Athletic Association pick.

Bryant had a brief NFL career and was part of the Baltimore Ravens’ Super Bowl championship team in 2013. He broke into coaching at Milford Mill High School in Maryland in 2014. He’d join the college coaching ranks as an intern and then defensive ends coach at Furman. In 2017, he returned to JMU in a defensive quality control role. He held a similar job at Towson from Sept. 2018 until joining Colorado in Oct. 2021.

In Boulder, “his primary duties [were] overseeing the scouting of high school prospects on the offensive and defensive sides of the football,” according to his school bio.

The Lions have bolstered their Mid-Atlantic connections this offseason

Bryant is well respected in Maryland and throughout the Mid-Atlantic. He can use his past and present ties to help the Lions. Similarly, Ahmad brings a strong New Jersey background to State College.

It means that Penn State has found a pair of fresh faces for its recruiting department that will only help the program’s push to recruit well within a 300-mile radius of campus, which is a long-held goal of Franklin’s.

A recruiting dead period is underway. It means prospects cannot visit campus again until March. But, the staff will be busy setting up spring and summer trips with recruits across the country over the next 28 days.