Missionary Trades One Field for Another

Brandon Bradley is fresh home off his mission to Sao Palo, Brazil and will be heading to BYU this weekend to see the campus, meet his new coaches for the fist time and learn more about a university he committed to in a leap of faith.

Like most returned missionaries, Brandon Bradley is still trying to acclimate himself to life back home after serving two years in the world's third largest city.

Tomorrow, Bradley will board another plan and head from Tallahassee, Florida to a place he has never been before, does not know much about and is, once again, thousands of miles away from home.

"Well, I'll be leaving tomorrow to go to Utah to visit BYU," said Bradley. "I don't know exactly what I'll be doing when I go down there but I do know I'll be going snowmobiling. I've seen snow one time when I lived in Alabama so it won't be my first time seeing snow but it will be my first time riding a snowmobile."

Bradley is looking forward to clearing up some of the mystery behind a commitment he made solely on faith. He is looking forward to knowing more about a university, a coaching staff, facilities and teammates about which he knows next to nothing.

"I am pretty excited, "Bradley said. "I'm going to come down and see what it's going to be like and see the facilities of the school. I'll be able to meet the coaches face to face. I'm looking forward seeing Coach Tidwell and Coach Mendenhall and to be able to talk with them. I've only talked to Coach Mendenhall one time and he welcomed me home and he said he was looking forward to meeting me. He said he was looking forward to the visit, and it was just basically that. He had a better conversation with my mom when he came down and visited. My mom was impressed with Coach Mendenhall and she really liked him a lot. She said she can see why people all call him Captain Moroni.

"I don't know a lot about BYU. I'll just be getting familiar with the school on my visit. I don't really know what to really look for or to expect so it's going to be something new for me, but I'm excited."

Bradley had a scholarship to play cornerback for the Louisville, now in the Big East, but he reasoned that he had better prospects elsewhere.

"I had a scholarship to Louisville but one of the reasons why I changed my mind on coming to BYU was because I have a better chance to play at BYU than I would have at Louisville," said Bradley. "I have a better chance of making a quicker impact at BYU and making a difference early, so I've decided to come to BYU."

Another big reason that factored into Bradley's decision to forgo a Big East scholarship came through an answered prayer. With just a few month of missionary service remaining, Bradley was set on returning to Louisville where he had signed a letter of intent as a senior at Lincoln High School. Knowing nothing of BYU, he decided to put his trust in the answer he received and commit to play football for the Cougars.

"Going to BYU was something that I started to think about and was also an answer to a prayer," said Bradley. "Because of that, I decided to go to BYU. The one reason why I decided to go to Louisville was because one of my friends went there, but he's not there anymore and I don't want to be there by myself."

One football set back suffered by many missionaries who serve in South and Central America is severe weight loss. Meager diets and parasites are common culprits.

"I lost 15 pounds," chuckled Bradley. "Now I'm 6-1 and like 185, maybe. I don't know how my speed is right now, but when I left to go on my mission I was running 4.4, but right now I don't know. I actually feel pretty good though."

Bradley hopes to learn a few things while he is visiting BYU for the first time tomorrow. He will be meeting with BYU coaches and discussing if his scholarship will be available soon enough to allow him to possibly find a place to live, enroll in school and shake off the missionary rust as a member of BYU's football team come spring camp.

"I'm hoping to come out and play for spring ball," Bradley said. "That's one thing I'm going to be talking to the coaches about when I get out there. Coach Tidwell said he spoke to Mendenhall about that and they both think it would be good for me be participate during spring ball, but they don't know if my scholarship would cover me being able to do so right now.

"Coach said he was going to try and check into that and see if I would be able to. I hope I'm able to because I would like to get going with the team, learn the plays and try to make an impact as early as I can to help out. I would like to get things taken care of as soon as possible. That's one of the things I'm going to make happen when I come out there this week."

At the close of the discussion with BYU's recently returned missionary football player, Bradley wanted to send a personal message to BYU fans all around the world.

"I just want to say that I look forward to coming and play for BYU. I just want to say that I'll do my best to make an impact on the field so we can get on the ball and get it rolling and get some ‘Ws' locked up, and let everybody out there know that we at BYU can play football just as well as any other college around."

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