And there he was playing his first college football game at Memorial Stadium on Saturday night helping his Jayhawks demolish Northern Colorado, 49-3, in their home/season opener in front of a record-setting crowd of 52,530.
"It was great," said Bradley McDougald, the 6-2, 195-pound freshman
receiver. "It was everything everybody was talking about. Once the
first play was out of the way, the crowd and all the distractions that
you think would set in kind of wipes itself away and I was able to just
play football. That's when it was fun."
McDougald had a lot fun catching his first two passes of his career in
the second quarter. The first came on a seven-yard screen pass from
quarterback Todd Reesing. On the next play, McDougald broke loose up
the middle for a 42-yard reception down to the Bears'
10-yard-line. KU scored two plays later on a touchdown pass
from Reesing to Sharp.
"It was just a great experience," McDougald said of his first two
receptions. "Coach got to me on the sidelines and told me they were
probably going to call my number ... just make sure I was ready and let
the ball in. One of the things my position coach (David Beaty) stresses
is ball security. Just hold onto the ball and not give the defense the
edge (with) a turnover."
McDougald's performance drew great praise after the game.
"For his first college game, he played like he's been around for a
couple of years," KU coach Mark Mangino said.
Junior nickelback Chris Harris gave the freshman props as well.
"Oh man, I thought he played really well," Harris said. "(We've) been
going at it all camp. I've been telling him after (going against) me,
you're going to be ready by the time you get to the Big 12. He's
improved a lot. I was very happy for him."
But McDougald isn't getting complacent. He knows there's much work to
"It just goes back to blocking," he said. "I still want to get better
on the little things, coming off the ball, downfield blocking, and
different things like that."
McDougald showcased his speed and skills that drew him plenty of buzz
around fall camp. But the buzz was nothing compared to the hype
surrounding him as a star player at Scioto High School, where McDougald
was Big Man On Campus and the talk of the town. With stars like
Reesing, Kerry Meier and Dezmon Briscoe, McDougald is just happy to
blend in at KU.
"Coming into the season, I just wanted to do everything coaches asked
me," McDougald said. "I wanted to be a team-first player. In high
school, I had a lot of attention on me. So it's kind of good to come
here and not have (as) much attention on me and just play my game and
not have to worry about all the things outside of football, do the
little things and get better day after day."
McDougald's next chance to get better on game day is this Saturday when
KU plays at UTEP. He's ready to go now that his college debut is in the
"After (the game), me and Toben (Opurum, freshman running back) were
talking as we were headed back to the room (that) it didn't feel like
we played in our first college game," McDougald said.
"But we did and we did a pretty good job."
A High for McDougald
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