December 4, 2011

Bradley goes out on top

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Very few seniors get to end their high school playing careers as champions but on Friday night in Massillon, that is exactly what Bam Bradley did. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound safety prospect from Trotwood (Madison) helped to guide his team to the Ohio Division II state championship as the Rams defeated Avon 42-28. The win takes away the sting of last year's title game loss to Maple Heights, a loss that served as motivation for this Trotwood team all season long.

"As soon as we went 10-0, there was this picture of Cameron (Burrows) kneeling down and it said 33-45 under it (the score of last year's title game loss) and we posted them everywhere," said Bradley. "We posted in the locker room and everywhere as a motivation that we didn't want to have that happen again. Mainly I think the thing that propelled us has been our god given spirit that we can do anything."

The chip on Bradley's shoulder this year not only came from last season's tough finals loss, but from those who doubt his ability as a college prospect.

"It means a lot," Bradley said. "I'm not really a rankings guy or a stats guy or anything like that but there are a lot of people out there that are ranked more highly than me at the safety position. I feel like me helping my team win a state championship at the safety position and having a big impact, helps to show people that I'm better than some of the people they have ranked ahead of me. I look at it as motivation."

With the win, Trotwood became just the second team from the Greater Western Ohio Conference to win a state title.

"The GWOC North has the only two titles and we had the most teams in the playoffs this year," Bradley said. "I just feel like that's a credit to the GWOC North. Everybody tries to down play like we're weak but we win the most."

Bradley has now wrapped up an outstanding high school career in which he was a four-year starter on some of the best teams in program history. His contributions will be missed according to Trotwood head coach Mo Douglass.

"Bam is one of my favorite kids," Douglass said. "He's one of those kids that wherever he goes and whatever he does, he's going to be successful at it because he puts in the work. This was the best off-season that he's had physically as far as working out. He does everything that you ask him to do and he leads by example."

With the season now over, attention will immediately turn to recruiting for Bradley as he weighs several offers, including one from Ohio State. The Buckeyes have been in the news non-stop over the last week after hiring Urban Meyer as head coach, Bradley commented on that news.

"Definitely Urban Meyer coming here changes things a little bit," he said. "I know his SEC background. Their defenses are nasty. They play hard defense and that's just what I think he's going to bring to Ohio State. It definitely changes things as far as it's already Ohio State so the name speaks for itself but adding a coach like that after all the turmoil they've been though definitely changes things."

Meyer has already been in touch with Douglass about the three-star safety and Douglass said his conversation with Meyer hit on the entire Trotwood program, not just Bradley.

"Urban called me last night (Thursday)," Douglass said. "Bam is going to go up for a visit at some time in December. We have to figure out which weekend it's going to be but they've indicated that he's one of the guys that they can't lose. They can't have him not be at Ohio State this year. (Meyer) told me that Trotwood is going to be one of the schools that they have a pipeline in. He said they're not going to be going to Michigan anymore, they're not going to leave Ohio."

Trotwood has been a hot bed of talent for many of the top programs in the Midwest over the years so there will be work to do for Meyer to establish the pipeline.

"They're going to have to work hard," Douglass said. "They've got a few teams that are a still fighting for him (to compete with) but (Meyer) stated that he's going to make Trotwood one of the schools that he really targets."

While Bradley seemed to take the Meyer news well, that doesn't mean he's going to give up on the other schools that are recruiting him.

"I've got a few other schools that have been on me from the very beginning," he said. "They've got special opportunities for me and I'm just going to see where my options are at, where it's the best fit for me, where's my mom, she's not going to make my final decision or she would have me somewhere in Dayton. It's just going to be where I feel most comfortable and where I have the best possible chance to play early and get the best education that I can."

Bradley clarified which schools are currently sitting at, or near, the top of his list.

"Pittsburgh is one of my schools, Stanford is one of my schools, Michigan State is one of my schools, Ohio State of course," he said. "I'll probably make my commitment by January 3rd, the Marine All-American game, they want me to make my commitment at the game so I've got some stuff to think about. I got my state ring out of the way, that was my main focus. Coaches were calling me all week but I didn't take any of their calls because I was focused on my team."

Bradley also confirmed what his head coach had said, that he will in fact be making a visit to Columbus in the near future.

"I'm probably going to visit (Ohio State) in the next two or three weeks," Bradley said.

Bradley is the No. 14 ranked prospect in the class of 2012 Ohio rankings.


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