Throwing a football isn’t a new concept for 12-year old Enfield, Connecticut-native Daron Bryden.
In fact, Bryden, a sixth grader, has been playing football since he was age six. The 5’0″ quarterback has already established himself as one of the nation’s best QBs at his age, and he even beat three-time Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Hasselbeck in an accuracy competition at just 10 years old.
Daron received an invite to the 2014 Team USA Regional Developmental Camp at Washington D.C.’s Gallaudet University (an all-deaf University) from USA Football Manager of Events Jimmy Thomas, and took the opportunity to show off his skill-set once again at the two-day event this past weekend. On Saturday April 5 and Sunday April 6, Bryden attended the camp with approximately 350 other kids ranging from grades 6th through 11th grade.
Despite being among one of the youngest––and smallest in stature––on the field, Daron displayed his polished footwork and smooth throwing motion, and drew plenty of attention from the crowd in attendance––and even a few local high school football coaches took notice.
Daron, one of three Bryden children, trains with his father, Craig, on a daily basis in order to fine-tune his throwing arm and his footwork. He has a strong five-step drop technique and has shown deadly accuracy on the run. In addition to his cannon right arm, Bryden’s footwork and elusiveness makes him a threat both inside and outside of the pocket.
Not only has he performed at a high level on the football field, but he’s also an A-student––while taking honors classes––in the classroom and is fluent in sign language. With both of his parents deaf, Daron was taught sign language at a young age so that he could communicate with them.
In preparation for high school football, Daron plans to work hard on refining his ability to read opposing defenses. Considering his physical traits and abilities are already far beyond those of a majority of signal callers several years older than him, it’s rather frightening to think where Daron’s level of play will be once he’s fully-grown and is playing against high school competition.
As we watched Daron at Gallaudet’s Regional Development Camp this past weekend, one thing is for certain: size doesn’t mean a thing. Guys such as Drew Brees and Russell Wilson have already proven that height doesn’t matter at the pro level, and Daron may have further cemented that statement as he stood out amongst a quarterback group that included guys over a foot taller than his five-foot frame.
Notable Accomplishments of Daron’s:
*2013 IV Star Showcase 6th Grade QB, and participated in 6th Grade Bowl in Pennsylvania.
*2013 NPFA All-American.
*2013 Bret Cooper Jr. All-American 6th Grade QB.
*Competed in 6th/7th Grade Bowl in Texas.
*Temple University and UMass each invited Daron to attend their high school camps in summer of 2013.
*Led his Hartford Hurricanes Jr. Pee Wee team to a 7-3 record and the Southern Connecticut Pop Warner Division I Jr. Pee Wee State Championship in 2013.
*DeBartolo Sports University QB Coach Joe Dickinson invited Daron (twice) to meet with him in Boston while doing a QB/WR camp in summer of 2013. Dickinson is impressed with his mechanics and believes he “has a bright future in college.”
Photos: courtesy of Craig Bryden (Daron’s father)
Editor’s Note: We have footage and an interview with Daron from this past weekend as well, and should be able to put it up on the site as soon as we can. You can also follow both Daron and his father on Twitter at @DaronQB and @QuarterbackDad7, respectively.