UCF Knights DE Big Kat Bryant Named AAC Defensive Lineman of Year, Newcomer of Year
By UCF Knights // December 31, 2021
finished the season with 52 tackles and 6 sacks
ORLANDO, FLORIDA – UCF senior defensive end Big Kat Bryant has been named the American Athletic Conference Defensive Lineman of the Year as well as AAC Newcomer of the Year by Pro Football Network.
Bryant joined UCF linebacker Tatum Bethune as first-team All-AAC picks by PFN.
The Knights had three second-team designees in receivers Ryan O’Keefe and Brandon Johnson and offensive guard Cole Schneider—plus two honorable mention selections in offensive linemen Matt Lee and Sam Jackson.
Bryant (Cordele, Georgia) started every game at the defensive end, made 52 tackles, and paced UCF in sacks (6), tackles for loss (14), and quarterback hurries (10). He was one of UCF’s four team captains for 2021.
Bethune (a junior from Miami, Florida) led the Knights in tackles in 2021 (with 108), finishing the regular season ranking second in the AAC and 21st nationally with 9.2 tackles per game (including a career-high 18 in the regular-season finale versus South Florida).
O’Keefe (a junior from Austin, Texas) led UCF in receiving in 2021 (84 for 812, 7 TDs—most catches by a UCF player since 2006). He was named MVP of the UCF Gasparilla Bowl win over Florida with his 246 all-purpose yards.
Johnson (a grad transfer from Tennessee and a Fort Lauderdale, Florida, product) caught 38 passes for 565 yards and 11 TDs in 2021—leading the AAC in scoring catches.
A four-year starter on the UCF offensive line, Schneider (a senior from Fort Myers, Florida) opened in all 13 games in 2021 and boasts 47 career starts for the Knights.
Lee (a sophomore from Oviedo, Florida) opened in 12 games at center this season. Jackson (a senior from Bradenton, Florida) started all 13 games for UCF. Those two helped the Knights gain 288 rushing yards against Florida.
Bryant (first team), Bethune (honorable mention), O’Keefe (second team), and Schneider (honorable mention) all were also honored on the All-AAC team determined by a vote of league coaches.
Pro Football Focus recognized Bethune (second team), O’Keefe (honorable mention), Schneider (second team), Lee (third team), and Jackson (honorable mention) on its All-AAC squad.
Phil Steele selected Bryant (first team), Bethune (second team), O’Keefe (third team), and Schneider (third team) to its All-AAC unit.
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