2011 Intro: Mark Bridges

MATTHEWS, N.C. --- The versatility of Mark Bridges brings flexibility to Butler's secondary.

"He's a guy we can use a lot of different ways, according to who else we have out there," Newsome said. "If we had to have [Bridges] at safety, he has experience there. Or if we keep him at corner, he's good there, too."

Bridges started at safety during his sophomore season and cornerback as a junior. The offseason will determine whether the 6-foot, 192-pounder stays at cornerback or returns to safety this coming season.

Last season, as Butler went undefeated and won the NCHSAA 4AA state title, Bridges registered 13 pass breakups, three interceptions, three forced fumbles, and 58 tackles, including eight for a loss.

"Mark brings, more than anything, experience, because he has started for us since he was a sophomore and played varsity as a freshman," Newsome said.

"The second thing is to have a guy his size with his speed you can do a lot of things. A lot of people look at him and say ‘Dang, he looks like a linebacker.' But he's just a big physical DB and he can play both [safety and cornerback]."

Bridges' ability to play both cornerback and safety – plus his size-to-speed ratio – has piqued the interest of schools like Alabama, Central Michigan, Cincinnati, East Carolina, Florida, Florida State, Miami, North Carolina, NC State, Tennessee, Virginia, and Virginia Tech.

Last football season he received scholarship offers from Central Michigan and East Carolina. However, with both schools going through coaching changes, those offers are perceived invalid.

"That whole staff [from Central Michigan] is now at Cincinnati, so Cincinnati has inquired about him, a lot," Newsome said.

"I think it's just a matter of time for him... Once he gets that first offer, they'll all start falling."

Most schools are recruiting Bridges simply as a defensive back.

"I think he's going to be just a hoss of a safety," Newsome said. "He could be a big, physical cornerback – if he keeps his speed. Or he'll be a safety that can walk into the box like an outside linebacker."

Bridges doesn't have any favorite schools, but said he wants to play in the ACC.

Thus far, Bridges has attended junior days at Alabama, Georgia Tech, and NC State. He plans to make more visits this spring but is unsure of the destinations. He also plans to camp at Duke, Florida State, UNC, and NC State this summer.

Last summer, Bridges camped at Duke and UNC on consecutive days.

"Those were great experiences," Bridges said. "At Duke, they had a pretty nice stadium and have great academics – so we did talk about a lot of that at the camp before starting individual drills. At Carolina, they did the same, but we did a lot more seven-on-sevens and one-on-ones."

At UNC's camp, Bridges worked out under Everett Withers, UNC's defensive coordinator.

"My dad grew up with Coach Withers, so I know him pretty well," said Bridges, who also attended a UNC game last season. "… He taught us some things that I used last season and can use this season."

Mark Bridges Profile

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