BYU basketball star Elijah Bryant looks to inspire with YouTube vlog

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The “EB and J” YouTube channel has over 1,000 subscribers already. (Youtube)

It was an eventful offseason for BYU basketball star Elijah Bryant.  

He rehabilitated his body back to full strength after an injury-ridden season, got married and started a YouTube video blog that now has thousands of views.

Elijah, a native of Atlanta, Georgia, is in his third year at BYU after transferring from Elon following his freshman year.  

He met his wife Jenelle, who’s from Draper, Utah, at a party she threw at her house, and the couple was married on Aug. 19.

Elijah started the vlog on his own after last season, but the couple now shares the channel. They explained the story behind it, along with their plans for the future, in an interview on Oct. 20.

“I noticed a lot of kids on Instagram are (direct messaging) me asking what they can do to get better,” Elijah said. “There’s a lot of kids out there that don’t have something to look forward to, look up to and good examples and stuff like that. I think with the vlog, me and my wife, [Jenelle] thought it’d be really inspirational to help kids out, and kind of let people see our lives.”

The channel is entitled “EB & J” and already sports over 1,000 followers, despite being up for only six months.

“We’re both horrible at keeping a journal,” Jenelle added, “so we were like ‘why don’t we videotape it and let everyone watch it?’”

The videos give an inside look into the couple’s relationship, showing milestones such as their engagement, wedding and honeymoon.

Elijah plans to add drills and how-to videos for young basketball players trying to hone their skills.

Ari Davis
Elijah Bryant drives towards the net during the game against Gonzaga last season. (Ari Davis)

The junior guard explained that he always had aspirations of playing Division I basketball, despite being only 5-foot-7 in ninth grade and facing an uphill climb to stardom.

He recalled going to University of Georgia games and training camps as a kid, seeing the bright lights and opportunity, and wanting that for himself.

The example of players and coaches there, including his neighbor, coach Dennis Felton, helped him find and work towards his goal.

This is something that he hopes to accomplish for other kids now that he is in a similar position.  

“Whatever grade you’re in, just keep working every day, you never know if you’re going to have a growth spurt,” Elijah said. “Continue to work, continue to hone in on your craft and everything will work out for you.”

These are the kinds of inspirational messages that Elijah and his wife want to send out to young people looking up to their examples, even though they realize their lives are far from perfect.

“It’s not like ‘Look at us. Our life is perfect,’ because no one’s life is perfect,” Elijah said. “We’re not trying to portray a perfect life, but we’re trying to portray a great example for younger kids.”

EB and J
Elijah and wife Jenelle in one of their YouTube vlogs. (EB&J)

The development and growth of the vlog have not come without some challenges along the way.

“I feel like taking a camera out in public is the biggest roadblock,” Jenelle said. “Talking in front of a camera to yourself with strangers watching you, and thinking you’re so weird, is probably the hardest thing ever.”

Elijah agreed that it was a challenge at first, but said if you focus on the camera and communicating the message you want your viewers to receive, the fear and difficulty go away.

The couple found early on that to have success and grow your brand on YouTube, you have to collaborate and involve other people and channels.

“At first it was kind of slow. It was like ‘I want to get more views, I want to get more this’,” Elijah said. “Now we’re getting like a thousand views per video and we really don’t want to stop there.”

They have found success among the BYU fanbase, with several people commenting positively on their videos.

Hannah Gasinski
Elijah at the BYU homecoming game on Sep. 10. (Hannah Gasinski)

“Love seeing all the behind-the-scenes and the boys from the team,” said YouTube user John Yrungaray in the comments section of one of the videos.

“I’m a huge BYU basketball fan, so of course I love the content of all the guys and learning more of their off-court personalities,” said another user named Deion Webb in his comment. 

The couple doesn’t plan on monetizing the channel as of now, at least while Elijah is an NCAA athlete with strict rules on compensation and payment.

“We’re not really in it for the money,” Elijah said. “It’s more like the storage device where we can say, ‘look kids, go to that and you’ll watch what we did there. Look this is when we first got married, and this is when we did our first pumpkin carving.’”

This storage device for memories is especially important for Elijah’s time playing at BYU, as their children will most likely never get the chance to see their dad put on the blue and white jersey.

“I think this platform that I’m on, I can use it for good,” Elijah said. “But I also have to realize that I have a lot of people looking up to me so I also have to make sure and watch every action that I do.”

Elijah is currently studying sociology at BYU and plans on applying for the master’s program in public administration. Jenelle is a student at Utah Valley University majoring in social media and advertising.

The couple looks to continue growing the channel to inspire and help more kids looking for role models. With the basketball season starting next month, the spotlight on Elijah, and his life both on and off the court will be bigger than ever.

Full interview below:

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