LostLettermen.com is a college football and men's basketball website. Today LostLettermen's Anthony Oliveri takes a look at 10-year-old quarterback phenom Daron Bryden for Prep Rally.
That's nothing new for a QB prospect on the verge of stardom -- except that Bryden is in the fourth grade.
A native of Enfield, Conn. -- located near the Massachusetts border -- the 10-year-old has been playing football with this type of fervor since he was 6 years old and has a personal QB coach, Todd Krueger, a former Buffalo Bills draft pick who runs the website
Daron's father, Craig Bryden, said via email that his son has been a prodigy from the start when he attended a New York Giants football camp in Connecticut as a 6-year-old, during which Daron received great feedback about his play.
That's when Craig Bryden contacted Evan Bowen, Daron's first QB mentor, who also saw potential.
"After his first QB training with Evan, Evan told me that Daron [pronounced "Dar-in"] would be a great quarterback down the road because he was impressed [with] the way he was throwing the ball," wrote the elder Bryden, who is deaf along with his wife. "So
I started to have Daron to work weekly with Evan and started to attend QB camps/competition[s].
"He was beating older kids -- two, three years older than him. He was making a lot of noise by winning a lot of QB competitions or best quarterback in the camps. That is when I started to realize that he has a lot of potential as a quarterback."
The younger Bryden, who also speaks sign language, certainly has received plenty of publicity already. He became a web sensation with a trick-shot video that went viral in 2011 and his parents started a blog, daronqb.blogspot.com, in honor of his football skills. The blog also contains praise from those in and around the game.
"Daron is the man fa real," ex-Colorado and NFL QB Kordell Stewart is quoted as saying on the site: "Accurate, good technique, can take a hit. … That's just the beginning for Daron. Tell him I said keep it going. Go DB go!"
Bryden has been mentioned by ESPN.com and sports blogs such as Deadspin. He was also featured on the TV station HDNet, which aired Daron rocketing balls that dwarf his head to teammates in practice and showing off trick shots:
Bryden even has a fan in Florida who requested a signed picture and autograph.
Yes, he's 10 going on Tebow.
And Daron is even sounding like a pro already with the media, saying by phone that he loves his teammates, "especially my wide receivers, Joey Colon, A.J. Alibrio and Logan Tomlinson. I love playing for my coach Aaron Alibrio. He has a lot of confidence in me. He runs perfect offense for my team."
He might already appear on his way to the 2023 NFL draft, but there are many cautionary tales of childhood phenoms that were pushed too hard too soon and couldn't handle the enormous pressure of being a child prodigy at such an early age. Former NFL quarterback Todd Marinovich was raised from the womb to enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame but flamed out of the league and struggled with substance abuse problems for years.
The elder Bryden said he's not worried about the fast track Daron is on. He regularly tells Daron that the family will be proud of him whether or not he plays football and explained that it's Daron's choice to always be on a playing surface.
"He loves to do his QB training," Craig Bryden wrote. "Also, he plays basketball when football season is over. That is why Daron plays other sports so he would not be burnt out.
"He plays football from August to November, then he plays basketball from November to June. He also plays Connecticut Winter Indoor Football League from March to April to stay in shape."
For now, Bryden will have to settle for being an elementary school kid starring for the Pop Warner Manchester Sentinals. Something tells us you'll be hearing the name Daron Bryden a lot more in the coming years.
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