Nov. 4, 2011
Resilient ‘Cats renew Rivalry
By David Boyce
The interaction Northwest Missouri State freshman safety Bryce Enyard has with his teammates proves beyond a doubt the family nature of the Bearcat football program.
A year ago, Enyard was going through his redshirt season. He was comfortable in a small-town setting. He grew up in Huntsville, Mo., a town of 1,500. His graduating class at Westran was 58.
Still, Enyard struggled.
“I think the big thing with Bryce was it was his first time away from home,” Northwest coach Adam Dorrel said. “Your time management skills have to be better. I think he lacked that a little the first semester. Now, he has really improved.”
It also hurt Enyard that he caught pneumonia.
“It was a deal he was out three weeks and it was affecting him going to class and coming to practice,” Dorrel said.
Enyard’s grades suffered so much that he had to leave Northwest after one semester and enroll at Moberly Junior College.
This is also proof that Northwest is serious about educating its athletes no matter how talented they are on the playing field.
“I wanted to come back here,” Enyard said. “They sent me back home. I had to go to the hospital. That messed my grades up. I had to go to Moberly to get my grades back up.”
It would be easy for the players to forget about Enyard. After all, he had not played a down for the team. He missed practice because of his sickness.
You would think that Northwest players who have been in the program three or four years and were preparing to begin a new era of Bearcat football with a new coach would hardly notice a freshman who left after one semester.
That’s not the Bearcat way.
“All the guys called me every week,” Enyard said. “I would go up there to visit. They came down to visit. That shows a lot.”
Enyard was determined to do well at Moberly and get back to Northwest as soon as possible. The Northwest players and coaches wanted it and so did his parents.
“He would call once a week,” Dorrel said. “His mom and dad kept calling to make sure we were right on line. We stayed in constant contact with him. I remember him calling us and telling us he had the grades to come back and we were super excited.
“He is a well-liked kid. Our players would say, ‘I talked to Bryce and he is doing great.’ I thought that was neat.”
Dorrel is thrilled that Enyard is having success in the classroom and on the playing field.
“Right now, he does not have any deficient grades,” Dorrel said. “He is doing really good in the classroom and doing great on the playing field. What he is doing now is very important to him and very important to his family and that is to get his degree here.
“Every time I talk to his mom or dad, the first thing they ask is how he is doing in the classroom.”
Enyard is excelling on the field, which is remarkable when you consider what he went through last year and was not able to participate in spring football because he was at Moberly.
Opportunity was there for him to get playing time. The defensive unit needed new blood because of the loss of nine starters off of last year’s team. Enyard has stepped right into the safety on cornerback spots and has made plays.
Enyard leads the Bearcats with five interceptions and has 76 returns yards off those pickoffs.
“He’s a good player,” Dorrel said. “His football IQ is really good. The fact that a redshirt freshman can play safety and corner says a lot about him and his work ethic, physically and mentally.
“He can cover in man coverage and he has got a great frame and is good at deflecting balls. He has a great nose for the football.”
The way Enyard is playing on defense, Dorrel is probably now glad he lost the argument two years ago when the Northwest coaching staff was figuring out what side of the ball to put Enyard.
“He was a phenomenal tailback in high school,” Dorrel said. “We had a heated recruiting meeting about what side he would play on.
“I think down the road you will see him do a lot more special teams stuff us like punt return and kick return. Right now we have Jordan Simmons and those other guys.”
From the time he made his recruiting visit to Northwest to his one semester at Moberly, Enyard always knew where he wanted to go to school and play football.
“I felt like I belonged in this family,” Enyard said. “Coming in for a visit, I loved the coaching staff. The players made me feel like I was at home.
“I stayed with the players when I was at Moberly. They called me to see how I was doing. I knew I wanted to come back here. Coming back here gave me another chance.”
It is an opportunity that Enyard is taking full advantage of.
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