- College football reporter
- Joined ESPN.com in 2007
- Graduate of the University of Tennessee
Cincinnati Bearcats cornerback Coby Bryant will honor his namesake, Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, by wearing No. 8 in the College Football Playoff Semifinal against No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic (Friday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN).
The No. 4 Bearcats (13-0) are a decided underdog, and Coby Bryant quoted the late Lakers superstar Tuesday in his news conference.
“I always go back to the famous quote from Kobe Bryant: ‘The job is not finished,'” Coby Bryant said. “And that goes from Day 1 to now. We have to stay hungry.”
Coby Bryant won the Jim Thorpe Award as the top defensive back in college football this season. He normally wears No. 7 but cleared it with his coach, Luke Fickell, to wear No. 8 in the playoff. Coby Bryant was named after Kobe Bryant, who along with his daughter, Gianna, and six other passengers died in a helicopter crash in January 2020.
As a youngster playing baseball, Coby Bryant also wore No. 24 as a tribute to Kobe Bryant.
“I was named after him for a reason,” Coby Bryant told reporters last week. “The Mamba Mentality is what I carry on to this day.”
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