TAMPA, FL -- It's now how you start that matters. It's how you finish.
Tampa native Ventell Bryant had humble beginnings, rated as a two-star prospect coming out of Jefferson High School. "Coming into my high school career I had high aspirations of playing early," said Bryant. "That didn't happen, I had to find my role within the school."
Once his junior year rolled around, Bryant thought he might have a chance at starting but a nagging toe injury caused him to miss the entire season. Once his senior year came, he had a decision to make. "I had to battle through what I wanted to, whether it be play through the pain or have surgery. Obviously I ended up playing and having a great season," he said.
After an impressive senior campaign with more than 750 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns, Bryant received only two scholarship offers.
"I was debating between Temple and Florida International. I wanted to stay home but I knew Temple was the place for me and I'm glad I went."
After redshirting his first season, Bryant made a big impact as a redshirt freshman setting new marks for receptions and receiving yards by a freshman. "Going through that whole redshirt process made me grow a lot and mature a lot," Bryant said. "I started to get a feel for what college football is all about."
Despite missing three games his sophomore year due to injury, Bryant still led the team in receptions and receiving yards and the Owls went on to win the American Athletic Conference. Their first conference title since 1967.
But after a promising start to his collegiate career, Bryant had to deal with some adversity. "My junior year there were a lot of ups and downs on and off the field."
During a spring practice in 2017, Bryant suffered a hamstring injury which kept him from being 100% his entire junior year. He also lost his single digit number, an honor given to Temple players for their toughness and dedication. Then, after a frustrating loss to Army, Bryant was dismissed from the team.
"I really didn't take advantage of my opportunities like I should have," said Bryant.
Hist time away from the team didn't last long though. After missing just one game, Bryant was back with the Owls and ready for redemption. "That year really helped me become the player that I am now and the person I am now," he said. "I earned my single digit back, carried myself with a lot of hunger and was humbled every single day and took the steps I needed to take for the team and it worked out best for me."
It certainly did. Bryant closed out his career in historic fashion finishing as Temple's all-time leader in receiving yards and receptions.
"Those were some of the goals I set for myself when I got to Temple. Breaking those records were huge in my eyes."
Now Bryant is chasing a new goal, playing in the NFL. He recently signed with an agent and is now in Boca Raton training for Temple's Pro Day.
"It's gonna be a long process everyday but I have to embrace because this is what I wanted to do and I have to take on this challenge."
From a lightly recruited two-star prospect, to an NFL hopeful. Ventell Bryant's journey hasn't been an easy one, but it's one he's hopeful is far from finished.