There may not be a hotter high school football recruit in the Carolinas than South Mecklenburg High’s Bryson Nesbit.
And here’s the crazy part: This is Nesbit’s first year playing. He just started in July.
But for the past month or so, Nesbit has gone from unranked to the No. 24 tight end recruit in the class of 2021, according to 247 Sports.
“And there’s lots more to come,” said South Mecklenburg coach Joe Evans, who is in his first season at the school. “It’s surprising to see how fast it all happened, but when you see him day-in and day-out and see his skill-set, you get it. Basically, he works really hard and when you’re 6-6, 220 (pounds) and you can run and block like a truck, this happens.”
The son of former Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints offensive lineman Jamar Nesbit, Bryson grew up playing basketball and is attracting Division I interest in that sport.
He had played some football in middle school and got the itch to play again this season.
“My dad didn’t start playing (football) until his junior year (of high school),” Nesbit said. “It saved him hits.”
Nesbit said his parents, who had previously “held me back a little” from football, allowed him to play this year. Jamar Nesbit became South Mecklenburg’s offensive line coach, too.
“When Bryson came out, I knew Jamar and I told Bryson, ‘Gimme your dad’s number,’ ” Evans said. “I told him I could use some help on offensive line. (Jamar Nesbit) said, ‘Yeah, I’ve been sitting back, waiting to see if you would reach out.’ He’s a great coach. A lot of times, NFL guys try to teach it like they are in the NFL, but he keeps it simple and having a kid in school helps. He can speak in terms they can understand.”
Once he had both Nesbits in the program, Evans said one of the first things he did was ask what Bryson’s dream school was.
“He said, ‘LSU,’ ” Evans said. “His dad played for the Saints. He loves Drew Brees. We sent his Hudl clip to LSU and they didn’t even see him in person. They offered.”
New South Mecklenburg athletics director Jose Garcia coached current LSU tight end Thad Moss when Moss played at Mallard Creek. Moss’ father, NFL Hall of Famer Randy Moss, has kids at South Meck now.
And once LSU offered, more started pouring in.
“It’s been a blessing,” Bryson Nesbit said. “I’m a team player, and all the attention on me is definitely a lot, but it’s been great.”
This season, Nesbit has caught passes for more than 500 yards and four touchdowns. South Mecklenburg is one of four winless 4A teams in North Carolina, but Evans and Nesbit both say morale is great.
“I’m really proud of my team,” Nesbit said, “because nobody has gotten down. Everybody is still working hard. We had the hardest schedule in North Carolina and now our coaching staff and our team have done a great job of persevering. We’re definitely building something.”
South Mecklenburg (0-10) will play at home Friday in its final game against West Mecklenburg (5-4). After that, Nesbit will turn his attention to the Sabres’ basketball team.
When that season ends, Nesbit said he will start seriously thinking about his future and which sport he will ultimately stick with.
His classmates are already calling him “5-star” as a nickname for his newfound football prowess, and Nesbit said it’s hard to ignore the type of major-college powers that now know his name.
“It’s been hard staying level-minded,” he said, “My dad and my mom helped push me through it, to remain humble and keep working hard and putting team before myself. It’s really just to be the best leader I can be. I really don’t care about my stats and all that. I’d rather have a win than get 1,000 yards.”
Evans thinks his star junior will have plenty of opportunities to do both.
“He will have his pick of any school in the nation (for football),” Evans said. “If he was 6-2, 200, maybe he wouldn’t. But he’s 6-6, 220 and he’s a basketball player, a great athlete and he’s got phenomenal hands. He’s going to go play big-time college football and have an opportunity to play on Sunday.”