A Tumultuous Year For McDougald

Things have not quite gone according to plan this season for Dublin (Ohio) Scioto standout Bradley McDougald. A position change and a midseason suspension have piled on top of increased interest from other colleges, but through it all the Ohio State verbal commitment is staying focused on his current teammates.

COLUMBUS -- By issuing a verbal commitment to Ohio State back in June, Bradley McDougald was hoping to have a drama-free senior season focused exclusively on his teammates.

Now heading into the final games of the year, things have not exactly gone to plan for the three-star athlete ranked as the No. 46 safety prospect in the country by Scout.com. In addition to a recruiting process that appears to be accelerating rather than slowing down, McDougald has had some off-the-field issues to deal with as well.

Earlier this season, McDougald missed three games due to suspension. He returned to action Oct. 3 and scored three touchdowns as the Dublin (Ohio) Scioto Irish defeated Westerville (Ohio) Central by a 43-7 score.

The reasons for his suspension have not been disclosed, and McDougald said there was nothing about the situation he would like to clear up. The OSU coaches have encouraged him not to talk publicly about it, he said.

The whole situation was a difficult one for the team captain, who was able to practice with the team but unable to take part in game action.

"That was totally different for me," McDougald told BuckeyeSports.com. "My coaches stressed on the fact that I had to be there for my team and support them and cheer for them on the sidelines. I just wanted to be there for me team, even though I wasn't playing. I wanted to be there emotionally, spiritually and cheering them on. I wanted to be their biggest cheerleader."

In his third game back in action, McDougald had four touchdowns as Scioto took the first game in what figures to be a developing rivalry with Dublin (Ohio) Jerome. In his team's 42-14 victory, McDougald had touchdown runs of 7, 5 and 5 yards and also hauled in a 75-yard touchdown pass.

"It was definitely a lot of adrenaline," he said of the game. "It was the new battle of Dublin, a new rivalry since we're not playing Coffman. It definitely was a game that meant something and is going to be a nice rivalry for years to come. I guess that's a good way to start off a rivalry."

Although McDougald said he remains committed to the Buckeyes, the 6-1, 190-pound athlete said he has four other schools that are still after him – and all have offered him a scholarship.

"Illinois has been talking to me, Kansas has been talking to me and Wisconsin and Colorado," he said. "I'm kind of open. I'm not totally closing out opportunities of going to other schools. I'm open-minded about it. I haven't visited that many other schools besides Ohio State, so if the chance does come to take an official visit I wouldn't turn down the offer so quickly."

McDougald said the OSU coaches are fully aware of the possibility that he will take visits elsewhere and they are on board with it. He does not feel like he rushed his commitment, McDougald said.

"(The OSU coaches) knew from day one and they're fine with it," McDougald said. "They said from day one that they want guys that know that they know they want to go there. If there's any doubt about it, they are fine with that and they want you to know what you want to do."

Any potential official visits would likely not come until his team's season is complete. McDougald said he has not had much time to research any of the schools still after him.

Although the OSU coaches still project him as a safety, McDougald is now playing both running back and middle linebacker for the Irish. The different schools recruiting him envision him playing different roles in college.

"Wisconsin is saying wide receiver, Colorado says corner," he said. "It's just whatever the coaches see fit. I don't really mind where they want me to play.

"It's not like I really have much time to think about it. I've made my senior year and the last few games I have left my main focus, but it is the next few years of my life. I have to think about that situation too. Plus, there's a better time to think about it than right now."

McDougald said that he remains firmly committed to the Buckeyes for now. Whether that will hold true between now and National Signing Day remains to be seen.

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