‘Big Kat’ Bryant to join Gus Malzahn at UCF

‘Big Kat’ Bryant to join Gus Malzahn at UCF

Defensive end Markaviest “Big Kat” Bryant said Tuesday that he plans to join former Auburn coach Gus Malzahn at UCF.

Bryant announced in January that he was entering the NCAA transfer portal and would play elsewhere for a fifth season, taking advantage of having another season of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Soon after, he said he was heading to Tennessee but apparently changed his mind after the firing of coach Jeremy Pruitt amid allegations of recruiting violations.

Bryant made his decision to play at UCF known on social media, sharing a photo illustration of himself in a team uniform with the caption, “Big Kat in the Bounce House.”

Bryant finished 2020 with 17 tackles, including three sacks, and four quarterback hurries. In four years at Auburn, Bryant appeared in 49 games and amassed career totals of 56 tackles, 10 sacks, two interceptions and seven passes defended.

He becomes the third former Auburn player to commit to playing for Malzahn at UCF, joining running back Mark-Antony Richards and receiver Nate Craig-Myers in Orlando.

Auburn fired Malzahn on Dec. 13 after eight seasons (2013-20) and a 68-35 overall record, 39-27 in Southeastern Conference play. He had four years remaining on his seven-year, $49 million contract extension and guided the program to an SEC Championship and BCS National Championship appearance in his first season.

He was hired at UCF in January.

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