Morgan State DL Saif Bryant dies in car crash

(AP Photo)

Some sad news emerged out of the FCS ranks over the weekend.

Saif Bryant, a defensive lineman for Morgan State, died early Sunday morning in a single-vehicle crash. According to the Baltimore Sun, Bryant’s car left the road, struck a tree and caught on fire around 3 a.m. Sunday morning in Ellicott City, Maryland. The 21-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. The cause of the crash has not been determined.

Per WBAL, Bryant was a junior who transferred to Morgan State in fall 2016. He played high school ball at Howard High School in Ellicott City. Bryant was a walk-on for the Bears.

Bruce Strunk, Bryant’s coach at Howard, said Bryant was special.

“We’ve had so many special kids come through, really dedicated kids, but I can honestly say I don’t think anyone loved Howard football more than him,” said Strunk, who stepped down last spring as football coach at the school. “Even after he graduated [in 2015], he was up there at the school and around the team every chance he got. Practices, games, in the weight room … you name it, he loved it all. He was the epitome of everything we did in terms of changing the culture of the program and turning things around. In my mind, he is Howard football.”

Morgan State coach Ernest T. Jones told the Sun that Bryant earned a spot on the team after attending an open tryout. He was at practice Saturday morning, hours before his death.

Jones said Bryant, a nose tackle, was at a chilly team practice Saturday morning. At about 260 pounds, he was smaller than the other men on the defensive line but was quick and agile.

“You’re talking about a smaller guy who is playing a position meant for a big guy, and he is holding his own,” Jones said. “He doesn’t say much. He is really quiet, but he is a fundamentally sound kid, a technician, if you will. What the big guys did with power and strength, he made up for with his athleticism and speed.”

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Sam Cooper is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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