June 19, 2024

Even if Bryan Bresee wished to suppress it, the memories of the 2023 NFL Draft night are too vivid to fade away.

However, the New Orleans Saints’ top pick from the 2023 NFL Draft, selected at No. 29 overall, cannot simply discard the recollections from April 27 of last year.

“When our season at Clemson concluded in December, leading into January, engaging in training and preparing for the draft, including the NFL Combine, pro day, and all other related events, was certainly a whirlwind experience,” expressed the defensive tackle. “And then, when draft day arrived, it was undeniably a highly stressful day, not only for me but also for my family.

“But as the day progressed, it evolved into one of the most exhilarating moments of my life – discovering which team I would be joining and being drafted by a prestigious organization like the Saints was incredibly thrilling for both me and my family.

Sister of Clemson Football Player Bryan Bresee Dies of Brain Cancer

“On draft day, I spent time with my family, engaging in normal activities. We may have taken a walk or grabbed lunch somewhere – anything to distract ourselves, as it was a long day waiting for the draft to commence. Once it started, there was another three- to four-hour window of waiting. My family played a crucial role in supporting me and keeping my mind occupied during that time.”

Bresee had to endure the selection of 28 players before being chosen by the Saints, who bolstered their interior defensive line with a talented addition. The wait for Bresee, who showcased his skills with 4.5 sacks, nine quarterback hits, seven tackles for loss, six passes defensed, and 24 tackles in all 17 games as a rookie, tested his patience.

“The uncertainty was the biggest challenge,” Bresee reflected. “You hear a few things, speculation about where you might end up, but ultimately, you’re left not knowing for sure. It’s about being grateful for any opportunity that comes your way, trusting that wherever you land is where you’re meant to be. You have to believe in the work you’ve put in and have confidence that everything will work out.”

When his name was finally called, Bresee experienced a whirlwind of emotions. “It’s hard to put into words,” he expressed. “There was a flood of emotions – from the years of dreaming about playing in the NFL since I was five years old, to having my family and friends there with me when it finally happened. It’s a moment you’ve been working towards your whole life. It’s an incredible feeling when the dust settles.”

Ella’s passing from brain cancer in 2022, at just 15 years old, deeply impacted Bresee. Despite her absence during his draft day, he carries her memory with him and strives to honor her legacy.

“It was incredibly tough not having her there, especially since she had been by my side throughout my entire journey, from Clemson to everything else,” Bresee shared. “But I find comfort in knowing that she’s watching over us and is proud. I do everything I can to honor her name. It’s emotional, but knowing how proud she would be of me and everyone else keeps me going. It was a difficult moment, but I try to focus on the positive.”

Offering advice to this year’s draft class, Bresee emphasized the importance of managing expectations and trusting in one’s abilities. “Don’t expect anything,” he advised. “No matter what predictions or speculations you hear, it’s not guaranteed. You have to believe in yourself and the work you’ve put in. Once you’re drafted, it’s all about competition and hard work. Focus on giving your best effort and let everything else unfold naturally.”

Saints fans and teammates can't get enough of Bryan Bresee's spin move

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