Bridgewater mulling his options

Episcopal star Brian Bridgewater has major scholarship offers in both football and basketball, but the rising senior has yet to decide which route he will take. In the next two months, Bridgewater hopes that will change.

Like most prep football players in Louisiana, Episcopal High rising senior Brian Bridgewater is winding down spring practice - the first time prep players are able to put on pads since taking them off last November.

But for Bridgewater, it's more than a few weeks dedicated to getting back in shape before going through the motions.

Before the summer ends, Bridgewater hopes to decide whether his senior campaign will be the last time he steps onto a football field.

"I hadn't made a decision yet, but I know that it would be really tough to focus completely on two different sports," Bridgewater said.

That means these days spent on the football field in May play as opportunities for Bridgewater to feel out where his heart stands, a situation made tougher by the influx of coaches coming in from the football world.

"LSU was the first school to offer me for football, and that was crazy because I had never thought about playing football in college," Bridgewater said. "It had always been about basketball.

"Playing in Tiger Stadium was something I didn't really think about."

Then came more offers, making it clear that Bridgewater - despite playing only one year of organized football - was a legitimate SEC football prospect.

"Ole Miss and Arkansas offers came, and I've been talking with Alabama a good bit, so they might offer as well," Bridgewater said. "Other Louisiana schools like ULL and Tulane have also been in touch.

"All of this has me thinking about football more, for sure."

Given the current tight end landscape in Louisiana, Bridgewater might be more in play with the Tiger football team than ever before.

Karr tight end Standish Dobard is verbally committed to Miami, and Patterson tight end Deandre Skinner pledged to Arkansas last week.

With Barbe's Desean Smith sitting on top of the LSU wish list, Bridgewater can make a case for the No. 2 tight end on the board.

"Coach Frank Wilson and Coach (Steve) Kragthorpe have both been in touch and visited with me," Bridgewater said. "Those are the main guys I've talked with. I've also talked with Les Miles a couple of times.

"They like me as a pass-catching tight end who could also go out and be a receiver. That's definitely how I see myself fitting in on the football field.

"I definitely get along with the LSU staff, and I enjoyed myself when I visited for the spring game. It was really nice."

Of course, the pendulum could swing towards basketball, where Bridgewater has shined on the Baton Rouge circuit throughout his teenage years.

With offers from LSU, Baylor, Marquette, Arizona, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and others, Bridgewater has options across the country, leading many to believe he will stick with the sport Bridgewater describes as his childhood favorite.

"I was thinking about doing both, and kind of wanted to do it, but I will probably go with just one sport," Bridgewater said. "I just need to think about it more over the summer.

"I will talk with coaches and family and see where things are, but it will mostly come down to how I feel and my family, especially my mom. Right now it is just up in the air."

While Bridgewater was offered and recruited by Trent Johnson and his staff, LSU's hiring of new basketball coach Johnny Jones means the Tigers will take a new approach - with fresh faces - as Bridgewater's recruitment turns into his senior season.

"They are closing down the class right now, so I have not talked with them yet," Bridgewater said. "I really don't know much about Coach Jones yet, but I am kind of excited to see what he is going to do with the program.

"There has been lots of buzz about him and guys they have gotten since he was hired. I heard about it all."


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