BuckeyeXtra exclusive | Meet a Buckeye: Christian Bryant could heal in time for bowl

Bill Rabinowitz, The Columbus Dispatch
Ohio State safety Christian Bryant intercepts a pass intended for Cal's Chris Harper.

Christian Bryant had established himself as the leader of Ohio State's defense when he suffered a broken ankle at the end of the Wisconsin game. Although he hasn't played since, Bryant remains important to the Buckeyes as an inspirational figure. Bryant continues to recover from his injury, leading to speculation that he might be available for the Orange Bowl against Clemson. He is scheduled to graduate in August.

Question: How's your recovery coming along?

Answer: It's coming along pretty good. I'm just working every day in the training room, working with physical therapists and doctors.

Q: How close would you say you are to being 100 percent?

A: I'm pretty close, I would say.

Q: What are you able to do now?

A: I'm walking without a boot with minimal pain. That's something I've been looking to do. A few weeks ago, I was still on crutches.

Q: What are the chances you might be ready for the Orange Bowl?

A: I'm really not even sure. It's still kind of early to say if I will be able to play.

Q: What have you learned about yourself during this time?

A: I've really learned I can persevere through anything, with having a good support system and positive people around you every day. Nobody ever doubted me once about coming back. Everybody's been positive, and that's what's kept me going.

Q: Who's been particularly supportive?

A: I would say the whole team and the coaching staff, especially coach (Urban) Meyer. He's been behind me 100 percent, helping me through this process. And my family and friends.

Q: How vital was that support?

A: There was no doubt that I needed that. It was such a traumatic time in my life. That was the biggest injury I've ever had, especially with it being my senior year. It was hard to accept the fact it was really reality.

Q: Was there one thing that touched you the most?

A: When I saw how frustrated coach Meyer was after it all went down. And, of course, when Ryan (Shazier) asked to wear my jersey number. I was in the hospital, and he came the next day. I'd had surgery. He and his dad came. They prayed over me - his dad is a pastor - and he just asked me, "Christian, do you mind if I wear your jersey?" I was kind of skeptical. I asked my dad, and he asked me to pray on it. I thought I really should let him wear my number because Ryan always has the best interest at heart for people.

Q: How much are you looking forward to graduating?

A: Man, I'm looking forward to it a lot. Knowing that you're going to get a degree, that's a big thing. You really need more nowadays. I may want to get my master's one day. I'm not really sure (in what) right now. Maybe business.

Q: Do you still want to pursue an NFL career?

A: Oh, of course. No doubt in my mind.

Q: Obviously, you would have preferred to play the whole year. But do you feel you got a nice consolation prize in that you were able to see how others really viewed you?

A: I feel like it made me realize what kind of impact I can have in people's lives. Just knowing that people look up to me and respect me as a person other than a football player, that's a big thing for me.