Class of 2016 DE Bridges One To Watch

Defensive end Zo Bridges is a prospect to watch for the Opelika Bulldogs as they try to make a run at a state championship.

Opelika, Ala.--On a team loaded with senior prospects junior defensive end/outside linebacker Zo Bridges definitely stands out for the second-ranked Bulldogs. A dominant pass rusher who has the athleticism to make plays from sideline to sideline, the 6-2, 210 Bridges is one of the reasons why Opelika shut down Wetumpka last week to advance to the second round of the Class 6A playoffs this Friday night against No. 3 Saraland.

“It feels pretty good,” Bridges said of the win over Wetumpka. “We accomplished a lot with the win. We just didn’t want to have that last-year moment.”

Last season the Bulldogs fell at McGill-Toolen 21-20 in the first round of the playoffs. That was without quarterback Matthew Christian playing for Opelika and Auburn defensive back Stephen Roberts running the show instead. This time around Christian is back and playing well, meaning Opelika is as strong on both sides of the ball as any team in the state.

With running back Josh Johnson helping to carry the load on offense and tight end Kyle Fourtenbary a reliable target for Christian in the passing game, Opelika’s offense is capable of putting up big numbers. On the defensive side of the ball South Carolina commitment Quandeski Whitlow, big Jared Gentry and athletic linebacker Roy Yancy are all playmakers, but right there with them is Bridges.

Playing a role for the Bulldogs since the end of his freshman season, Bridges is now a veteran and one of the guys Coach Brian Blackmon counts on to make plays for his defense. Still growing and learning more about playing the game, Bridges said he feels better with every passing game as his role branches out to include a stand-up role at times.

“I think I have improved more physically,” he said. “I used to be all about speed when I first started playing varsity. Now I have proven that I can take you on. I’m still working on being more physical and also my footwork. With a little bit more work on that I can be even faster with my take-off.”

Still waiting for his first offer, Bridges said he’s hearing from Mississippi State, Kentucky, Auburn, Alabama, Tennessee and South Carolina at the moment.

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