McDougald Keeps Proving Himself

Ohio State has landed a number of defensive backs for its class of 2009, and one of them comes from right in the Buckeyes' backyard. Dublin (Ohio) Scioto safety prospect Bradley McDougald was in action Friday night against some talented competition, and was there.

Fans who waited out a 40-minute lightning delay at Dublin (Ohio) Scioto on Friday night were treated to a glimpse into college football's future.

There on one sideline was Bradley McDougald, a three-star safety prospect who is verbally committed to play for Ohio State next year. There on the other side of the field for Toledo (Ohio) Central Catholic were running backs Mike Marrow and Brad Rogers, verbal commitments to Alabama and Iowa, respectively.

It was the visiting Irish that held off McDougald and his Scioto teammates to the tune of a 21-14 final that remained in doubt until the final seconds of the game. Marrow led the way with 95 rushing yards including one 27-yard touchdown run and Rogers added 78 yards and another score but it was McDougald who was all over the field.

After opening the game at quarterback, McDougald saw time at slot receiver, tailback, safety, punt returner and kick returner.

"I like to see myself as a team player," he told BSB after the game. "Wherever I'm needed at the time is where they'll put me."

McDougald's statistics were not as impressive as those put up by the visiting team, but his versatility was. On his team's first drive, McDougald completed a 14-yard touchdown pass to knot the game at seven apiece. The scoring drive saw him also complete a screen pass that went for 46 yards and also pick up 15 yards on four quarterback keepers.

From there, though, the home team would find much tougher going and eventually came up short in a game that resembled a playoff atmosphere.

"It was definitely a fun game," he said. "All week the coaches were preparing us for the two D-I running backs that they have. They both were running the ball hard and they were able to cut and break tackles. It was just a fun atmosphere."

At one point, McDougald was shaken up when the 6-1, 190-pound safety prospect had to provide run support and met the 6-1, 235-pound Marrow in the hole. McDougald would miss the next offensive series but returned on defense.

"He was a big boy, but coaches all week were doing workouts and showing us different techniques to take out his legs and hit him low," McDougald said. "If you hit him low, he'll tip over."

For the game, McDougald recorded seven tackles and did not have a pass thrown in his direction. He carried the ball 12 times for 68 yards and returned one punt for 35 yards, nearly breaking it for a touchdown before being caught from behind while attempting to cut.

Prior to the game, McDougald came out for the pregame coin toss as part of his responsibilities. The team votes on its captains each week, forcing him to consistently prove himself to his peers in order to maintain that honor.

"It forces me to keep working," he said. "You can never be caught slacking."

Ranked by as the No. 46 safety prospect in the country, McDougald was the 21st player to verbally commit to join OSU's class of 2009. Getting the recruiting process out of the way in late June has helped him focus on his senior season, he said.

"It has helped me," he said. "Once you get recruited by Ohio State, it brings even more attention. It is a positive thing in a way, but also it draws more attention to where you're at."

Rumored to be still considering other options aside from the Buckeyes, McDougald said he is firmly committed to the program. He was in Ohio Stadium the next morning to see OSU host Youngstown State for the first game of the season.

Other schools will occasionally send him letters, McDougald said, but he is not receiving serious interest from anyone else.

"It feels pretty good to know that's out of the way, but obviously I want to take care of the things that are on the field right now in front of me," he said.

Spoken like a captain.

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