Bryan Scott, ‘Aaron Rodgers of Division III,’ ready to prove he’s worthy of the NFL
Bryan Scott knows the importance of timing.
It’s part of his quarterback job: not only helping him throw precise passes to receivers, but also delivering them quickly enough that his offensive linemen don’t spend more than they need on a. given game.
It’s a simple and effective part of his style of play, achieved through skill and meticulous practice that has lasted for years. But his greatest strength, Scott says, is the way he elevates the play of those around him. That’s part of the reason the former Occidental College player – once called “Aaron Rodgers of Division III” – has his sights set on the NFL.
“My goal is to play 100% in the NFL. And at to play in the NFL, not just being a roster spot, ”Scott told Sporting News. “It’s to play. And I believe in myself.
Now he’s waiting for the moment when a team will give him that chance.
Scott was once a skinny, 5-1 freshman at Palos Verdes High School (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.), And only grew a few inches by the time he was in high school. But he has seen a growth spurt as a senior, dropping to 6-1. His size allowed him to compete for the starting quarterback position for the first time. He took full advantage of it, leading Palos Verdes to an 11-3 season and the 2012 Southern Section California Interscholastic Federation Championship – his first title in 47 years.
It was almost the last football season Scott had ever played – except for a chance meeting with his eventual college football coach.
“We won the state championship and I was good. I was happy, ”Scott said. “And I played in that all-star game, and my college head coach (Doug Semones) ended up being there.
“And he came up to me and said, ‘Would you like to take a trip to the West and visit?’ I said, ‘I don’t know. I’ve never heard of Westerners, ”Scott recalls of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. “I went there and loved it. I went to their practice. It was a sort of fate.
In the second game of his first season at Occidental, Scott was forced to intervene following the injury to the starting quarterback. He didn’t flinch under the circumstances: he thrived, winning the All-SCIAC second-team selection and the conference’s Newcomer of the Year award.
Scott considered using his early successes at Occidental to move on to a larger and more visible program. In the end, he stayed with the team that gave him a chance.
Scott became an all-round first-team conference selection during the 2015 and 2016 seasons, winning the SCIAC Player of the Year award in the latter. That season, he also set conference records in career passing yards (9,073), completions (763) and total offense (9,475). He has thrown 77 touchdowns and 22 interceptions in 33 career college games.
It was around this time that Scott earned the nickname “Aaron Rodgers of DIII,” which he attributes in part to his quick release, precision, and ability to extend the game with his feet.
“And I also have a little fire in me, out there on the ground.
Just 11 miles south of Occidental, at USC, Scott competed in the 2017 Trojan Pro Day. At that point, a respectable 6-2, 220 pounds, he threw at receivers such as future NFL star JuJu Smith-Schuster, completing 62 of 64 passes with one drop. He signed with the BC Lions from the CFL in April, but included a clause in his contract that he would be released if he had the chance to earn a spot on an NFL roster.
This opportunity arose on May 1, 2017, when first-year Rams coach Sean McVay invited Scott to participate in the rookie minicamp.
At the time, Scott said he was happy to be there. The town kid was ignored in the 2017 NFL Draft and was “just thrilled to go out there and compete.” His air changed at the end of the camp.
“The biggest thing I took away from that, if I’m being honest, was that I felt I could definitely play at this level,” Scott said. “I intervened and it went very well. And to be honest with you, I think that maybe shocked the Rams a bit.
Scott said the Rams called him the best quarterback in the camp, but an invitation to compete for their final 53-man squad never materialized. Scott turned his attention to the Spring League.
Bart Andrus had never heard of Bryan Scott before the 2018 Spring League in Austin, Texas. Andrus, one of four TSL head coaches in that year’s showcase, just had him as one of his two quarterbacks. (The other was former Titans signalman Zach Mettenberger).
At the end of the event, the former Titans quarterback coach and CFL head coach considered Scott the best quarterback in the event. This includes Mettenberger and 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. Plus, Scott had demonstrated everything you wanted in an NFL quarterback: precision, confidence, poise, and the ability to extend play.
“I had Steve McNair at Super Bowl 34. As the head coach of NFL Europe, I had Danny Weurffel and Shaun Hill,” Andrus told SN. “In the UFL, I had Troy Smith and Eric Crouch on the same team; both won the Heisman Trophy.
“Bryan is in this class when it comes to his talent.”
Andrus wasn’t the only TSL head coach who saw Scott’s potential at this event. Steve Fairchild – former Bills running back coach and St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator / quarterback coach – saw an “NFL ability arm” on the former DIII player.
“Every time we got together as a team he has thrown the ball well,” said Fairchild. “But a lot of guys throw the ball well. But every time we got into some kind of competitive team setting, his game increased.
“I coached in the NFL a bit. He could play at that level. It’s that kind of talent.
Scott won Spring League MVP honors in 2018, earning him tries with the Chiefs and Falcons. Neither practice resulted in anything long term, so Scott signed a forward contract with the CFL Edmonton Eskimos in October 2019 for the 2020 season.
Once the league canceled his season Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, Scott chose to step aside from his contract so that he could showcase his talents somewhere – anywhere – with the goal of forming an NFL team.
Scott turned again to The Spring League, which ironically took place in the fall of 2020. This time around, the event – which featured matches on Fox Sports 1 – featured six teams, more matches, and more players. more notable. Among them: former Power 5 college football quarterback JT Barrett (Ohio State), Shea Patterson (Michigan) and Alex Hornibrook (Florida State).
No surprise, Scott – which Andrus wrote first on the board – outclassed them all. As a quarterback for the Generals, he won the league MVP title a second time. He completed 91 of 133 passes (68.4 percent) for 1,125 yards and 13 touchdowns for an interception. He also led his team to a 4-0 record and the TSL Championship.
This led to a practice session with the Colts in February, and two other NFL teams that Scott declined to name. Now he’s once again waiting for his chance to earn his place on an NFL roster – and he’s confident that opportunity will present itself soon.
“I want to show a team what I can do day in and day out,” he said. “I want to show a team my character and what I can bring to their football team and how I can improve their football team. And whoever signs me up will just get a winner and a leader. “
Bryan Scott knows the importance of timing.
Maybe he might have hit his growth spurt earlier in high school. Perhaps this would have led to a scholarship offer to a Division I school, where he would be more visible and his competition less scrutinized. Or, he could have simply chosen to leave Occidental for a larger agenda.
“Who knows where my life would be right now,” Scott said.
But then Scott wouldn’t be the same player or the same person he is today – the one who must have won it all. He considers this mentality as much a force in his relentless pursuit of the NFL as his arm skills or athleticism. And he wants to prove all those who believed in him right up to his point: friends, family, coaches and teammates.
This includes those who worked with him at TSL. Andrus finds it “confusing” that an NFL team did not take a risk on Scott. Fairchild calls this “breathtaking”.
The two understand why some in the NFL might be reluctant to take a chance on Scott. Division III teams just don’t produce NFL talent like those in Divisions I or II. Only 10 former Division III players were on the NFL rosters in 2020, and none were quarterbacks.
And yet Andrus and Fairchild see Scott as an “exception to this rule,” someone whose natural talent, competitive nature, and leadership qualities trump anything else.
“He considers himself an NFL quarterback,” Fairchild said, “and he should. There’s no doubt in my mind.
Andrus said: “I think it’s a matter of time before someone wakes up and says, ‘You know, we better give this guy a chance.'”
That’s all Scott ever needed.