"Coach (Gus) Malzahn is recruiting me for Auburn," says Ben Bradley, a six-foot-three, 315-pounder at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas. "He came out to see me and so did another coach from Auburn, the offensive coordinator (Rhett Lashlee)."
Bradley says that Auburn is on his list of four finalists. He has already visited Nebraska and Missouri. This week he will have a doubleheader of recruiting official visits with a trip to check out the Kentucky Wildcats on Friday before heading closer to home to visit the Auburn Tigers on Saturday.
He notes that he will be ready to sign next week and start classes at the college he chooses so he says that he will have a decision very soon after his final two visits.
Bradley notes that in addition to being close to his home in the Atlanta area where he played at Norcross High School, a reason for his interest in the Tigers is that Auburn's new defensive line coach, Rodney Garner, is someone who he could be interested in playing for the next two seasons.
"I knew Coach Garner when he was at Georgia and I think it was a real good hire for Auburn to get him," the defensive tackle says.
Interested in majoring in business at the college of his choice, what is going to be the deciding factor on where he enrolls? "How I feel on the visits I have and how my family feels about it, too," he says. "My mom, dad and my sister are coming with me on the visit."
Following his freshman season at Hutchinson Community College the lineman committed to Coach Derek Dooley and the Tennessee Vols. However, the Vols fired the coach and Bradley re-opened his recruiting even though he still has an offer from Tennessee.
After attracting interest from a variety of colleges, his final list consists of three SEC teams and Nebraska from the Big 12.
As a senior at Norcross High the lineman received scholarship offers from South Carolina, North Carolina State and others, but chose West Virginia. "On signing day I double signed," he notes, signing with Hutchinson was Plan B if he didn't qualify for play for the Mountaineers.
"I didn't think I was going to have to go juco, but that is what happened," he says. "I signed with Hutch just in case. I ended up not qualifying so I went to junior college. It was a good experience for me. It taught me a lot of things."
Bradley began attracting college attention as a junior tackle and noseguard at Norcross High. By the time he was a senior he was one of the better players in the state, receiving an invitation to play in the Georgia North-South All-Star Game.
A one-sport athlete in high school, he saw action on both sides of the line of scrimmage and was recruited by some colleges to play offense.
Asked the best part of his game, the defensive tackle says, "My freshman year I was effective in stopping the run, but I needed to get better with my pass rush. In the offseason we had a new coach and he helped me with my pass rush and I made a lot more plays my sophomore year than I did my freshman year."
His performance attracted plenty of attention after making 54 tackles with six quarterback sacks this past season for the Blue Dragons. Bradley says other colleges that have offered him include Tennessee, Boise State, Illinois, Georgia, Texas A&M, Kansas State, Kansas, TCU, Arkansas State and Indiana.