NCAA Division II players do not become professionals nearly as often as their Division I counterparts, but some defy the odds. Bryce Witt looks to become the next Division II player to make it to the big stage. He played in the inaugural HBCU (historically black colleges and universities) Legacy Bowl. The game is designed to give players from HBCUs the chance to display their talent in front of scouts and fans while gaining exposure. Participants attend practices and meetings throughout the week to learn the playbook and add experience with their teammates. Players also get the opportunity to visit New Orleans, as the game is played in Tulane University’s home, Yulman Stadium.
“We had dinner at a lot of great places throughout New Orleans. That was a lot of fun. Being able to be there for football, but also exploring the city, as well, was a great experience,” Witt said.
Witt attended Chowan University, which sits in Murfreesboro, NC. He enjoyed the change of scenery in New Orleans but still found plenty to do when attending Chowan.
“[I] lived in apartments with [other] football players and friends… on Sundays… we always had probably about seven or eight guys in our apartment kind of hanging out watching (NFL) football.”
Watching NFL football is essential for Witt to study the best players and learn from them. He watches veterans like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, but also takes qualities from those who can escape the pocket like Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen. While Witt is known for his semi-big stature standing around 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds, he showed off the capability to move in the HBCU Legacy Bowl.
Ah, the ol' double bobble play. Bryce Witt and Ryan McDaniel made it happen!
📺: @HBCULegacyBowl on @NFLNetwork pic.twitter.com/BveZRehjpE
— NFL (@NFL) February 20, 2022
Witt was a skilled runner in his first few years playing for Chowan, rushing for 671 yards in 2018 and 463 in 2019. In 2021, his rushing total dropped, but he credits the difference to a change in approach.
“We were more of a passing team this year… and you get sacked occasionally… [which] takes away from your rushing yards. I was used more as a goal line rusher this year, being a bigger guy. I had 11 rushing touchdowns this year.”
HBCU Legacy Bowl
In the HBCU Bowl game, Witt demonstrated that knack for rushing. He had 32 yards on the ground, but he was also particularly successful passing the ball. He threw for 131 yards and a touchdown on 15-of-21 passing. While he did not win the Offensive Most Valuable Player award for the game, he impressed in front of scouts.
The goal is to continue performing well in front of NFL personnel, and his next opportunity is at his pro day. Witt produced well as a scrambler in games, but he hopes to put up an excellent 40-yard dash time to prove he can move.
“I think the 40-yard dash is going to be a big thing for me for sure… I can run and escape out the pocket as well, but I just want to go out there and make sure I put on a good time 40-wise to show I am a bigger guy but also can move pretty.”
The Next Steps
Witt’s pro day is the next step towards his ultimate goal of reaching the NFL. He is a playmaker who can stand in the pocket and move through progressions or move outside and make plays and break tackles. He will look to revise his footwork while dropping back before joining the next level. Witt hopes for an NFL team to give him a chance, not only because of his talent, but also because of his dedication.
“If you want a guy that’s going to go out there and give it his all, work hard, be competitive, be passionate about the game of football, and be passionate about winning, then that’s definitely who I am as a player and a person.”
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Main Image Credit: via Chowan University Hawks