Texas A&M star and pro football washout Johnny Manziel was the big news at April’s NFL Spring League in Austin. Oft-troubled “Johnny Football,” the Heisman Trophy winner who toppled out of the NFL, is trying to shed off-the-field troubles, so the media showed up for potential spectacle.
But it was a local kid, 2013 Palos Verdes High graduate Bryan Scott, who made the most of this opportunity at quarterback. Scott, a star at small Occidental College, got a brief look by the Los Angeles Rams, but was bumped out amid a logjam of talented young QBs. He isn’t ready to give up, though.
In two games, Scott racked up five total touchdowns and 271 yards on 19-for-28 passing while earning Player of the Game honors in both.
“(The Spring League) was a great experience,” Scott said. “When I was coming out of high school, (Manziel) was the star of college football. It was definitely a humbling experience (to play against him).”
Unlike normal NFL games, the Spring League players were all coached by the same coaches and split up on the two games days. So Scott and Manziel got to sit in the same meeting rooms.
“(Manziel and I) developed a good relationship,” Scott said. “He’s a good dude, and had a lot of stuff happen (off the field). He cares about others, his teammates and he even reached out to me and made sure I kept up with the playbook.”
Coming into the Spring League, Scott was intent on working on his weaknesses, most notably his inexperience in the West Coast offense, and taking snaps under center.
“I ran a lot of shotgun (at Occidental), but when I was at PV High, I was under center a lot. To get those reps again in the Spring League were huge,” Scott said. “The West Coast offense playbook is very long, and the verbiage is tough to spit out in the huddle. You’re not just giving a guy an hand signal, you have to tell everyone what they’re doing in the same play call.”
Following his collegiate career at Occidental College, Scott trained under famed quarterback guru Norm Chow leading up to his participation at the USC Pro Day in 2017.
After his performance at the pro day, Scott earned an invite to the Los Angeles Rams rookie mini-camp last summer. But his time with the Rams was short-lived.
“The biggest thing with the Rams was my age and experience,” Scott said. “They had two other guys (on the roster) that were young to back up (starter) Jared Goff.”
Scott made the most of his time with the Rams, and considered stepping away from football before his agent, Eloy Vasquez, told him about the Spring League.
“I kept with my training and was working on everything I needed to work on, but I wasn’t sure I was going to continue to play,” Scott said. “Then my agent signed me up for the Spring League in October, and I started working on my footwork and quarterback mechanics. I was just focused on becoming the best quarterback I could be.”
His performance at the Spring League earned him a private workout with the Kansas City Chiefs, who run a West Coast-style offense under coach Andy Reid.
Scott’s workout was held Tuesday at PV High, and leading up to the workout, Scott didn’t think too much about the memories he made while helping lead the PV football program to its first CIF title since the school reopened.
“I definitely know after the thought that I’ll look back on (Tuesday) as a day that will be special in my memory and in my heart,” Scott said. “(Coach Guy) Gardner gave me my first opportunity to play high school football, and I’ve had a special and blessed journey to continue playing football. The fact that it’s come this far, and doing a workout with an NFL team on that field is definitely special.”
Scott didn’t go into Tuesday’s workout banking on the Chiefs signing him to a free-agent contract, instead making the most of whatever opportunity arises.
“Whatever team gives me an opportunity, I’ll give them my all,” Scott said. “Any team that does call, I’ll be ready. I’m definitely ready for whatever God has in plan for me.”
Recently, with the desire to understand the West Coast-style offense better, Scott has been working with former San Francisco 49er backup Bob Gagliano.
Gagliano learned the West Coast offense under its creator, then-49er coach Bill Walsh, with Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana calling the signals.
But Scott knows that whether or not he is signed to an NFL contract, he’s shown that he’s more than capable of making the jump onto an NFL roster.
“What I’ve learned with football is that there are so many highs and lows,” Scott said. “I’m in a different mindset from last year. I was going through so much, whether it was with the USC Pro Day, to the Rams mini-camp. I was getting swamped with so much.”
Swamped, sure. But not shaken.
“Once you realize that you anything is possible,” he said, “and it sounds corny, but you can work to achieve your dream.”