There are No Shortcuts to Success

By George Yarberry
EFN National Director
Published: 02/14/2015

As you go through time, there are special people along the way that make a significant impact on how you live your life. These people can have a lasting effect and change how you approach each day you breathe on this earth.

One person that has inspired Bryce Brand was his former youth football coach, Khalil Wasson, from Lansing. Wasson passed away last year on April 13 at the age of 45. “He told us that there are no shortcuts to success and it hurts to be great. Hard work pays off. This is something that is constantly on my mind every day,” said Brand.

Coach Wasson’s message has stuck with Bryce and has helped him become one of the best prospects in the Class of 2017. Brand, a 6’1 265-pound defensive tackle from Walled Lake Western, already has two Division 1 offers from Louisville and the Air Force Academy, and he is only a sophomore. He is also drawing interest from Michigan State, Michigan, Pittsburgh, Nebraska, Indiana, West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, Purdue and Cincinnati.

This past weekend Bryce improved his stock even more with an outstanding performance at the Elite Big Man Camp in Wixom, MI. Brand dominated in the 1-on-1 competitions and showed why he is an elite national prospect.

Last season, Brand played for U of D Jesuit and earned All-Detroit Catholic League honors. He is a two year varsity starter and had 98 tackles, 14 sacks and 18 tackles for loss. His best game last year was against Brother Rice. “The game plan against Rice was to try to move me around more since most schools to this point had double and tripled teamed me on most plays. The Rice game I got a chance to play stand-up defensive end which made it more difficult for them to stop me off the edge. I was able to take away the run game and chase (Alex) Malzone around all night. Most of the time he would move his running back to provide protection,” said Brand.

Brand brings a lot to the table with his talent, skill and determination to succeed. “My strengths on the field are my ability to play across the defensive line. I am powerful and try not to give ground at the first layer of the defense. Technique is something I pride myself on and find that it really helps to beat offensive linemen. Knowing the moment is something my Dad has always preached to me. I really try to think game situation and scenario,” said Brand.

Brand has a phenomenal work ethic and is working extremely hard this off-season. “This off-season I want to continue to get stronger and faster. I recently tested on the bench press at 405 pounds and continue to get my body stronger. I spend most of my free time lifting weights, I really enjoy getting stronger. I've seen only one other sophomore from Hawaii lift above 400+ pounds on the bench so far. My goal is to get close to 500 pounds before I graduate,” said Brand.

Brand is also a student of the game. If he is not in the weight room you can usually find him watching video. “I am a film junky. I watch similar players and try to pattern my game after them. I try to learn techniques every day. Aaron Donald (Defensive rookie of the year in 2014) is my idol. We are the same size at 6'1" and share a similar skill set with our speed off the ball and strength. I am actually stronger than Aaron Donald at this point in high school and heavier, so I am looking forward to continuing to aim towards his success. He is the man,” said Brand.

Another person that has inspired Bryce is his older brother Ryan. Ryan, an Air Force signee and Elite 11 quarterback, has been a great role model. “Ryan has been incredible at setting an example through his hard work, never letting people define your success, and his never give up mentality. He has been an inspiration to many young football players across this country and I have benefited the most from his story and work ethic,” said Bryce.

Bryce was also fortunate to go to “The Opening” and Elite 11 last summer with his brother at the Nike Headquarters in Oregon. “It was an unbelievable experience to see the talent level that you don't see every day at home. I am more focused than ever to be one of a few juniors to have ever been invited to attend the Opening in 2015. I will be in Miami (NFTC) at the end of February showcasing my skills,” said Brand.

Bryce also has a really close relationship with his father. “My father has always pushed me beyond my natural ability and he still reminds me EVERY DAY how special I am. He pushes me to be the best Bryce.”

Outside of football, Bryce likes to fish, golf and go bowling with his dad and brother. He would like to major in Business, Engineering or Sports Medicine.

There are a lot of athletes that dream about what they want and where they want to go, but Bryce Brand is doing what it takes every day, because he knows there are no shortcuts to success and he is willing to hurt to be great.