The best defensive player in Kennesaw State history is leaving the nest.
Linebacker Bryson Armstrong, a Kell High School graduate who holds nearly every significant defensive mark in the Owls’ record book, decided to enter the transfer portal as a graduate transfer and play his final season of eligibility elsewhere.
Armstrong did not give an indication of where that would be, but it will likely be at a Football Bowl Subdivision school.
Armstrong made the announcement Monday evening on Twitter.
“I wish I could repay you for all that you have done for me,” he tweeted. “I’ll start by saying thank you. Thank you for allowing me to live out my dream of playing college football. Thank you for helping me create lifelong relationships with some of the most incredible people on this planet. Thank you for helping me obtain my degree. Thank you for helping me become a better man. Thank you for believing in me.
“These past five years have been some of the best years of my life and I will forever be grateful for them. One of the best decisions I have ever made was to play football at Kennesaw State University. I am sharing this message with you today because I’m making another huge decision in my life.
“After talking to my God, family, and friends, I have chosen to enter my name into the transfer portal as a grad transfer with one year of eligibility left. Love you guys, go Owls and God bless.”
Armstrong burst on the scene in 2017 by winning the Jerry Rice Award given each to the best freshman player in the Football Championship Subdivision. He had the best defensive game in program history against Alabama State that season with 15 tackles, 13 solo, two sacks, two tackles for loss, a forced fumble and an interception.
In the waning moments of the game, Armstrong came on a blitz and got a strip sack on Hornets quarterback Kobie Jones. The play backed Alabama State from the Kennesaw State 28-yard line back to the 46 and out of potential scoring position.
In his final home game at Fifth Third Bank Stadium last month, Armstrong had the longest interception return in program history — 75 yards for a touchdown against Robert Morris.
“It is difficult to put into words what Bryson Armstrong has meant to this program on and off the field,” Kennesaw State coach Brian Bohannon said in a statement. “There has not been a better standard of effort, attitude and toughness than what he brought every day to KSU football, and the results speak for themselves.
“He is a high-quality young man with an extremely bright future ahead. As sad as I am that his time has come to an end here, I am equally excited for how he will continue to represent himself and his family at his next step. Bryson will always have a home at Kennesaw State, and we appreciate who he is and what all he has done.”
Armstrong’s mark on the Kennesaw State program will be felt for a long time. He leaves with 13 single-game, season or career records including the program’s all-time marks in sacks (18.5), tackles (320), solo tackles (226), forced fumbles (5) and fumble recoveries (5).
Armstrong is a two-time finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award as the best defensive player in the FCS, a two-time Big South Defensive Player of the Year, a four-time first-team all-Big South honoree and has been named to more than a dozen All-American teams.