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August 22, 2013

Bradford brings top flight speed to '15 class

Splendora running back Jay Bradford ran a 10.49 to win the Class 3A title in the 100 meters last spring. In addition, he won the long jump with best of nearly 24 feet. His track skills suggest a combination of top end speed and acceleration that also come into play on the football field when you watch his film.

Bradford plays in the I formation and Splendora runs a lot of power (with a pulling lineman) and toss. He is a one cut runner who takes a pitch, is very deliberate in setting up his blocks, and then accelerates through a gap. He can cover a five yard stretch of ground so quickly that defenders can be on either side of him and all they can do is get a hand on him as he speeds by. It only takes him maybe a couple of steps to get there. The explosion/acceleration through a gap is his primary calling card from clip to clip.

Toss to the left side…he cuts up inside the numbers and then back to the center of the field and outruns everyone.

Toss to the left, short side…he cuts up inside the numbers and there's about six defenders with a chance to take him down. Only two even get their hands on him and breaks their tackles as he gets to the second and third level so quickly that only one guy has a chance to catch him and he does…40 yards downfield at the goal line.

Short trap right side…one guy coming from the outside makes him hesitate but he plants, avoids, and explodes to the third level where there is a safety waiting for him to bring him down.

Inside zone, left side…he takes a handoff, makes a crashing defensive end miss, makes not one but two cuts to avoid tacklers at the first and second levels ten yards down the field, plants his right foot, and splits a pair of two deep safeties.

Toss, right side…he allows some blocks to open up inside the wingback, plants that right foot, and he's gone.

Playing seven yards deep in the I, you have to have the patience to be able to set up your blockers and then have the vision to find creases and he has both attributes. In addition, he has quick feet not just to make people miss in traffic but the ability to change direction and go back against the grain if necessary when people are flowing inside to outside and have angles on him.

The Aggies did not land Newton runner Kevin Shorter in the 2014 class, a big play guy who averaged over 11 yards a carry last season due to his acceleration, quick feet, balance, top end speed. However, Bradford has a very similar (if not superior) skill set and he ran a faster 100 meters (10.49 vs 10.8) than Shorter and also had a better long jump (23' 11.5" vs 22' 8") this year. Bradford is also already pushing 200 pounds. In limited opportunities as a receiver, he looks the ball into his hands and catches it with them.

The 2015 class in Texas is the year of the running back and Texas A&M has now sown up two of the top five runners in the state. As with guys like 2014 commit Varshaun Nixon and 2015 commit Rodney Anderson, Bradford has the size to run inside as well as block and the receiving ability to contribute in the passing game. On top of that, he may well be able to differentiate himself with his speed which may make him the fastest back not only committed to A&M but in both the 2014 and 2015 classes within the state.


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