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Bryce Dewberry was already familiar with Eastern Illinois' football program since his older brother, Bradley, was a standout defensive back for the Panthers for the past four seasons.

So when EIU's coaching staff called and showed interest in the younger Dewberry, Bryce knew he could trust what they were saying based on his brother's experience with them.

EIU wasn't the only school Bryce Dewberry heard from, but it was the school he trusted the most, and earlier this week, he verbally committed to play for the Panthers.

"I feel like they were the best fit for me and when my brother was up there, they followed their word with what they were going to do with him, and I guess I can follow his footsteps," Dewberry said. "This is very exciting. This is what I've been dreaming of my whole life, getting to the big stage and now I am staying humble."

Georgia Tech reached out to Dewberry at one point, along with Fordham, a member of the Patriot League in FCS, and Saginaw Valley State.

Dewberry said the EIU coaches kept showing interest throughout the whole recruiting process, which sold him the staff.

"They kept in contact with me," Dewberry said. "Some coaches, they will talk to you and then leave you alone. The EIU coaches kept calling and proved that they wanted me at EIU. I am very excited. EIU is known for having a good defense, and I want to help them get to the playoffs and get to the championship."

Dewberry played at the same high school as his brother, Eagle's Landing High School in Georgia. As a sophomore, Dewberry was a linebacker, and then he transitioned to defensive back as a junior. He played both safety and cornerback as a senior. He was also a wide receiver.

Bradley Dewberry was a starting safety for EIU in all four of his seasons and was named an All-Ohio Valley Conference second-team selection this past season. Bryce will follow in his brother's footsteps and will play safety at EIU. He plays the position a bit differently than his brother, though.

Bryce said he learned a lot about the position from Bradley.

"He's more like a run-stopper and I can play deep as a free safety," Dewberry said. "I learned pretty much everything from Bradley. We used to work out together, and he taught me stuff about the defensive backs in college. He also taught me stuff that helped me at wide receiver when I was in one-on-one coverage."

Now Dewberry brings that knowledge to EIU, and he's seen firsthand how the staff molds their players on defense.

"I feel like I can have a good impact. I will try and do my best and hope everything falls into place and learn how they do it there," Dewberry said. "The defense develops good players who can get to the league or who have come close to making it in the league."

Dewberry's Hudl page lists him as 5-10, 180 pounds. He lists his 40-yard dash time as 4.58 seconds.

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