When Bradley Sylve slips on his spikes and prepares for competition, opponents know what’s in store.
As a freshman, Sylve captured Louisiana state championships at 100 and 200 meters, posting times of 10.60 and 21.85, respectively.
As a sophomore, Sylve took the 2009 indoor state title at 55 meters with a time of 6.34. His finish was good for the fourth fastest time in Louisiana history. One better, his preliminary run of 6.31 ranked him third on the same list.
“I am going to break that 6.31 soon, though,” said Sylve when asked about the performance.
By the time national competition rolled in and out, the rising junior had posted the fifth best time in the 55-meter dash and the 12th best time in the 60-meter dash.
Back from competition in North Carolina, the South Plaquemine standout is ready for football.
“It feels really good to have all that track stuff behind me,” Sylve said. “I am ready to put some of my energy into football, because that is my true love.”
The first stop for the 5-foot-11, 175-pound wide receiver, not surprisingly, is Baton Rouge.
“I am coming for the camp in July,” Sylve said. “I am pretty pumped about showing the staff how I look, and I just hope that they are impressed.”
Of course, the writing is already on the wall.
“LSU and Alabama have both offered me verbal scholarships,” Sylve said. “They are really the only two schools that I am looking at this early in the process, because they let me know I am a priority. Coach Saban said that he would make it official in September, and Coach Miles and LSU said the same.”
Out of those two, Sylve said, the choice would not be tough.
“I got to say it is LSU for me,” he said. “I grew up a fan, and I still am. Growing up in south Louisiana, it is hard not to like the Tigers. I just feel fortunate to get the opportunity to look at LSU as a college, let alone play there.”
The Tiger track program, with its’ storied past, is simply an added bonus.
“The track program combined with football is big for me,” Sylve said. “I have gotten to look at what the track program has to offer, and it would be a good spot for me. Still, football is where I want to really focus.
“There are a lot of 10.3 guys in this country, but not many can play football as well.”
The realization of dual-talent, said South Plaquemine head coach Cyrus Crutchfield, is what he has attempted to drill into Sylve all along.
“I try to always remind him of that idea, that there are not many 10.3 guys that can play football like he can,” Crutchfield said. “He is blessed with a combination of speed and talent that you rarely see.”
Crutchfield, who is also Sylve’s stepfather, serves as both the track and football coach at South Plaquemine.
Having the opportunity to monitor Sylve’s day-to-day progress, Crutchfield said that the sky is certainly the limit.
“One thing I have seen in the past two years is that his development has been tremendous,” he said. “As we prepare him for the upcoming season, we see just how explosive he has become. When he puts together the speed he has and the strength he gains in the weight room, he will only become more special.
“His upswing is tremendous,” he added. “He is still young, so he has nothing but time.”
Highest on the priority list: getting out of the blocks quicker.
“He is sluggish coming out, which is why right now he is best suited for the 200,” Crutchfield said. “Most guys want to run the 100, but he gets faster once he gets going.”
Progress, Crutchfield said, has been consistent.
“We have been working on some plyometric training, and he has grown leaps and bounds,” he said. “Combining that strength with his speed is a tremendous asset.”
Sylve, who will also run the indoor hurdles during his junior campaign, looks to be in for another action-packed run through the calendar.
Yet, after catching 45 passes for 1,174 yards and 13 touchdowns en route to a state title last fall, football remains king.
“I love it more than anything,” Sylve said. “That is why it feels so good to get back … especially to jump off with the camp at LSU.”
Sylve said that he plans on graduating in December of his senior year in order to train for the Olympics.