There's No Place Like Home for Bradley

Kellen Bradley was never adamant about playing close to home. The former Scottsdale Saguaro quarterback traveled to many colleges before verbaling last summer to Oregon St. Ironically, it was an official visit to Corvallis in the winter that changed his mind about playing for the Beavers. A week later, one of the best quarterbacks in the Phoenix area decided to stay in the valley and commit to the Sun Devils.

"Last summer, I went to 12 different college camps with my dad," Says the East Valley Offensive Player-of-the-Year, "It was a weird trip. I would sleep in the car, wake up at a college, play Football; go to sleep in the car, and wake up at a different college (smile)…I think Oregon St. was the last one we went to. They offered us right after their camp. I really liked coach Erickson…So after all these camps, my dad asked me if I wanted to commit or wait. I liked Oregon State, so I decided on a whim to commit to them. When I look back, I obviously wish I didn't do it, but it took pressure off my senior season." In his last year at Saguaro Bradley led his team to the 4A state semifinals. His stats were nothing short of spectacular: He completed 60% of his passes for 3,085 yards and 38 touchdowns. Naturally schools that took a wait and see approach recruiting the quarterback, started knocking on Bradley's door in droves. "Last summer, ASU and other schools said they wanted to wait until they see some games in my senior year. When the season started and I was doing well, a lot of colleges contacted me - Washington, both Colorado schools, and Texas A&M were a few of them. They asked me if I was still committed to Oregon St. I told them I was, even though I wasn't that sure..."

While Corvallis looked appealing in the summer, a January visit (a mere formality after his verbal commitment) to Beavers' land opened some eyes and…umbrellas. "When I went back to my recruiting trip in January, I realized that Corvallis wasn't my type of town." Recalls the quarterback "Everybody told me it rained a lot there, and I was thinking that it wasn't a big deal. When I got up there, they told me that we were in a middle of a 50-day rain streak, and they said that once they had a record of 140 days or something like that. I was used to always seeing the sun for 18 years (smile). I came from a big city, and I didn't think I could get used to such a small town" On the plane trip back to Arizona the PrepStar all-American knew that Tempe was the campus of his choice. "When I knew I wasn't going to Oregon St., I called ASU and told them I'd like to visit." Says the 2001 Arizona high school leader in yards and touchdown passes. "ASU was my top school left, so I knew that I'm pretty much going there. I visited ASU the next weekend…I went down with parents and met the coaches, and took the tour. I visited a lot of schools, and I can guarantee you that ASU has the best facilities in the nation. It wasn't the traditional recruiting trip - I didn't stay the night at the hotel and I didn't have a host player. The coaches talked to me about how I'll fit in the program. It just felt natural to me to be part of ASU."

When ASU was struggling last season, the recruits that naturally noticed it the most are the Phoenix area ones, like Bradley. Needless to say that the Sun Devils performance hardly deterred the co-recipient of Barry Sollenberger's Quarterback-of-the-Year Award. "When I saw ASU beating up on San Diego St. and Louisiana Lafayette, I knew they would be in trouble going into Pac-10 play. Jeff Krohn was getting hurt a lot, and when the quarterback doesn't play well that affects the whole team…I'm a long-term vision type of person. I know ASU has a young team that will be real good in the future. I know all about turnarounds. When I came to Saguaro they were 1-9 the year before. My first year there we were 9-4, and my senior year we were #1 for 13 weeks and made it to the semifinals." Playing time is always a strong consideration when a quarterback decides which college to sign with. None of the three Sun Devil signal callers will be a senior this year, which could translate to limited snaps in practice for Bradley, and a strong chance of redshirting in 2002. Nevertheless, the winner of the Dr. Voie Stuart Coy Scholar-Athlete Award chooses to see the glass half full. "I would come to ASU no matter how many quarterbacks are on the team. If you're the best one, you'll get to play. It's up to you to work hard. I'm gonna try my best this year, and if the coaches decide that I'm gonna play, then I'll go ahead and play hard. But I'm totally OK with redshirting if that's what the coaches decide." For some it may seem that the mental transition from a heralded high school quarterback to possibly #4 on the depth chart, may be a tough task to handle. Bradley rebuffs that notion. "I'm not worried about that all. I didn't care about that (star status) in high school anyway. I've seen players like (Terrell) Suggs and (Mason) Unck, and I know I'm nowhere near their status. Either way, I'm gonna work my hardest and show the team I can play."

Bradley who runs a 4.65 forty and has a 38-inch vertical leap, played many sports in high school. Among those were Volleyball, Track and Field (High Jump) Soccer, Baseball, and Basketball. When asked about his Football skills he replied: "I can sit in the pocket and read defenses real well. Like everyone knows, ASU's offense is real complex and you have to make a lot of reads and be patient. I think I can do all that. I don't get sacked much, and I move around the pocket well…I need to run better with the ball tucked away when the play breaks down." ASU's high-powered offense is appealing to any quarterback the Sun Devils pursue. This rings even truer for Bradley who played in a spread, pro-style offense at Saguaro. The incoming freshman didn't waste any time trying to get a head start on learning the offensive scheme, since he was permanent fixture at ASU's spring practices assisting ASU's quarterbacks coach in the position drills. "I think the players saw that I wanted to be part of this team early on, and they liked that. If I was on the team, and the hometown kid had a chance to come down for practice, I think I would want him to be part of practice too." These days he feels even a bigger part of the maroon and gold squad. "The second I graduated, I started lifting weights and running with the team. It helps build cohesiveness. I'm friends with a lot of guys, and I hang with them on the weekends when we're not working out."

It was a long and unusual recruiting journey for Kellen Bradley. It started as a frenzied tour of college campuses in the Western region, and ended at a school located a comfortable 20-minute drive from home. Maybe that saying is true: what you spend a lifetime looking for is usually located much closer than you think…

Recruit Profile Name

Kellen Bradley

High School

Saguaro HS, Scottsdale, AZ

Position

QB

Height

6-3

Weight

195

Date of Birth

11/1/83

Hometown

Scottsdale, AZ

Nickname

No nickname

Favorite TV Show

SportsCenter

Favorite Movie

The Program

Favorite Singer

Stone Temple Pilots

Favorite Food

Steak

Favorite Drink

Water

Favorite Athlete

Donovan McNabb

Favorite Pro Team

Oakland Raiders

Person you most admire

My dad. He gets up at 5 AM and doesn't come home before 6 PM. But he always came to every practice and game in my life. He coached me when I was younger, and paid for me to go to trainers and get better. He has always been there for me.

First Football Memory

I was seven and I was playing my first Pop Warner game. I was very nervous. I was a wide receiver, and I caught a touchdown in that game. It was the first pass I ever caught in a game. I was so surprised I caught it. I just knew then that I wanted to score touchdowns forever (smile).

One Thing most people don't know about me

I'm an Eagle Scout.

Why did you choose ASU?

I love the coaches and the players. I went to a lot of different camps, and I just felt the most comfortable here.

Where do you want to be in ten years?

If things go well with Football, I'd like to be in the NFL. If not I'd like to be a lawyer

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