The Maryland staff has been scanning the junior college ranks in search of Big Ten-ready offensive tackle, and one they have an early bead on is Lackawanna’s (Scranton, Pa.) T.J. Bradley. The 6-foot-9, 290-pound Bradley earned a Maryland offer in early April and promptly visited College Park, Md., April 14.
“I got the Maryland offer after the coaches saw a Hudl tape I made, and they contacted me and said they were looking for tackles and were very interested in me,” said Bradley, who has early looks from UMD, Syracuse, West Virginia and Minnesota. “So on Easter break when I was going home [to Leesburg, Va.], the first thing I did was stop by Maryland. I wanted to stop by and see what it was like. And the visit was great.”
Bradley didn’t have a chance to watch the Terps practice since he arrived early in the morning, but he was able to tour the school, meet the coaches and learn about the academics.
“Seeing the new facilities they’re building, the dorms there, the Under Armour jerseys, it was great,” Bradley said. “And the academic programs there and all the different majors they have, I liked that a lot too. I also got to see the stadium, which was very nice. So it was really something. I really enjoyed it.”
The former Tuscarora (Leesburg, Va.) lineman has been in touch with UMD line coach Tyler Bowen, and that’s who Bradley spent the majority of his visit talking to. Additionally, Bradley met offensive coordinator Walt Bell, running backs coach Anthony Tucker and headman D.J. Durkin.
“Coach Bowen is a funny guy. I can relate to him because he’s young. He just got done playing O-line too, and he knows the techniques of the modern-day lineman,” Bradley said. “Coach Durkin I met at the end, and he said they have a new team coming and a real good chance to rise up in the Big Ten. He wants me to be apart of that. And he said that Maryland is only 45 minutes from my home, so why not stay close? It was a good message.
“The thing about Maryland is it is convenient. The location is good, and with the campus, everything is right there for you so I won’t get distracted.”
Now that he’s seen College Park, Md., once, Bradley said he’d like to return for a game or possibly on an official visit. He said UMD is under firm consideration for him.
“Any school that offers me and is close to home and is a good program is going to be a school I look at,” Bradley said. “I would like my mom to see all my games, so that’s something I’m always thinking about. Maryland is only 45 minutes away, and it’s a good program, so I like them a lot.”
That doesn’t necessarily mean UMD is a hard-and-fast leader, however. Bradley said he is going to be visiting West Virginia in the summer, and the three-hour distance isn’t a problem for him. Same goes for Syracuse, another program he plans to check out.
The Lackawanna tackle will also trek out to any other attractive suitors that may materialize this spring.
“I’ve been talking to Oklahoma, and then South Carolina and Auburn are coming to see me,” Bradley said. “I know those schools are farther away from my home, but I’d definitely consider them because I know I could be successful at those places. Growing up, I always wanted an SEC offer. So we’ll see what happens with that. Right now, I’m just focused on getting better.”
Bradley, who didn’t qualify academically out of Tuscarora and thus didn’t procure major scholarship offers, said he’ll likely choose his college destination by late fall/early winter. He said he’ll see what offers come to fruition, continue taking visits, talk over his options with his family, and then commit right before enrolling in December.
“I’m going to take my time,” said Bradley. “There’s a lot of places that are interested in me, so I’m going to see what happens. And one thing a whole lot of programs like is that I have three years of eligibility remaining.”