Bradford Gets High Praise

The two-sport athlete Mark Bradford from Los Angeles Fremont is one of the best football/basketball prospects in the west, but most of the praise you hear about him has to do with his character...

Mark Bradford, 6-2, 185, Los Angeles (Calif.) Fremont, is one of most compelling prospects in the Los Angeles area, not only because he's one of the best two-sport athletes on the west coast, but because of the character the young man has shown.

Bradford, who is very soft-spoken and always has an easy, calm smile, is a great athlete. He proved to be one of the best wide receivers in the L.A. area last season, catching 75 balls for 1,104 yards and 10 touchdowns for Fremont, while rushing for 238 yards on 28 carries and earning 1st team All-League and All-City honors. A couple of very good cornerbacks from the Los Angeles area who have gone up against the best wide receivers locally said that Bradford is the best receiver they've played against. He's also considered a great safety prospect, jumping 38 inches in the vertical at the Nike Camp last year. He ran a 4.65 40 in that camp a year ago, but now says he's in the 4.5 range now.

Bradford is also a very good basketball player, being among the top 15 or so shooting guards on the west coast in the junior class. He's very quick and has great hops, which makes him very difficult to guard when slashing to the basket. He's also one of those players that always plays hard all the time, never gives up and never complains.

If that's not enough, he's also one of the best long jumpers in the state.

And the praise from coaches, scouts and parents comes in huge doses about Bradford.

"He's just an unbelievable kid," Fremont football head coach Pete Duffy said. His AAU coach, Rick Isaacs, said, "He's a dream. He plays his butt off all the time, does what you tell him and is a natural leader."

Due to various problems that his parents experienced, without getting into the details, both of Bradford's parents aren't in his life anymore. He very well could be another story of a kid with parents who had tragic stories, and he became another tragic story himself. But Bradford has bucked that trend. He gets high praise from teachers and administrators at Fremont, where he maintains around a 3.5 GPA. He took the SAT and scored a 960, but says he wants to take it again to improve his score. Duffy said, "Neither of his parents are around and Mark has basically grown up with his aunts but he's one of the best kids I've ever been around."

When talking about a kid like Bradford, it's almost inconsequential what colleges he's interested in, since the character of the kid is the real story. He did say recently, though, that he's very wide open. According to his coach, he's received many offers for football, including offers from USC, Arizona, Colorado, Oregon, Illinois, Stanford, Wisconsin and Michigan State.

When asked to name some schools he's interested in, Bradford rattled off a list. "Stanford, Notre Dame, Oregon, Texas, Washington, UCLA, USC, Michigan, Michigan State and Colorado are some of them," he said, with that calm smile.

"It really doesn't matter where the school is," Bradford said. "I just want to get a good education, and then feel comfortable there. I want it to be the right fit for me academically, and for everything else. I want to play both sports in college, too, so I'm looking for a place where I can do that."

Bradford didn't participate in the recent Los Angeles Nike Camp because it coincided with the Arcadia track meet, but plans on making the trek to the Palo Alto Nike Camp May 18th.

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