Don't Spoil the Surprise

"I think I could probably play earliest at UCLA and then Washington," said super linebacker/safety Allen Bradford, from California. "UCLA will lose three linebackers and a safety. Washington really needs players. Playing early is the most important factor for me. Kids coming up now want to play early. All of us do, not just me. Everyone wants to play early..."

Linebacker/safety Allen Bradford (6-0, 222, 4.55) from Colton High School in Colton, Calif., denies a leader, but admits to favoring UCLA (LB/SS), USC (SS), California (rover), Oregon (LB/SS) and Washington (OLB). This was the order in which he named the programs.

"Last weekend I visited Oregon," Bradford said. "The highlight of my trip was just meeting the whole staff and learning how much they really want me. They want me real bad as a football player and a person.

"They told me they knew I was a really good football player, but they needed to know how my character was. I showed them that I respect people and that I remain humble. My host was Kevin Garrett (DB from Carson, Calif.).

"Nobody has any lead for me," he said. "There's just no school that's in the lead. I'm not confused, I just don't know yet. All of the schools have a fair shot at me and most are close by in the west. I've already seen all their campuses. There is opportunity everywhere.

"There is no order to my favorites. Wherever I go, I want to be surrounded by great players and a staff that will be with me throughout my career in college. I need to find out how I'll blend with a team. That's really important. Will the players at the school really get along with me? The Oregon players were all really friendly and wanted to know me.

"I like the staff and history at UCLA. I like that they are winning. That's a plus. They are shutting a lot of mouths right now. But now they won't be playing schools like Rice anymore and they're going to be competing in the Pac-10. We'll see how they look. "I think I could probably play earliest at UCLA and then Washington," Bradford said. " UCLA will lose three linebackers and a safety. Washington really needs players. Playing early is the most important factor for me. Kids coming up now want to play early. All of us do, not just me. Everyone wants to play early.

"USC just got a commitment from a big-time safety (New Jersey's Antwine Perez). That doesn't affect me at all. All you do is compete. The best man wins. USC wants me to play strong safety according to my dad (Keith). But this commitment to them doesn't matter to me. You go to college to compete.

"USC is the best team in the country and you know they have talent. I don't know if Darnell Bing (SS) will be leaving USC or not after this year. But they have a really good staff and their practices are great, like game-tempo.

"The staff at Cal is also cool," he said. "You could do most anything you want with a degree from Cal and they have a really strong football program too.

"It's beautiful up in Washington. And they need talent.

"The schools that are recruiting me the hardest are UCLA, USC and Oregon, I would say. I've already visited (officially) Nebraska (9/2) and Oregon (9/24). I don't know who else I'll visit.

"I like Oregon's and Cal's uniforms the best, probably Oregon's the best of all.

"I'm leaning towards playing strong safety. I'm working on backpedaling, reading and covering. As a linebacker, I'm more of an outside guy, even though I'm playing everywhere now--on offense too. I probably don't have the size for linebacker in the NFL. I'm 6-foot now, and probably won't ever be taller than 6-1. I don't want to play running back. I want to deliver the hits.

"A lot of schools have told me I'm their No. 1 linebacker. They like my hitting ability, my aggressiveness and my vision on the field. But I have good character off the field too.

"I'll announce where I'm going to go at the U.S. Army All-America game (sponsored by Scout.com) on January 7. The only people I'll tell before then are my dad and my coaching staff. I don't want to spoil the surprise by telling anyone else before then," Bradford explained. "But right now, none of my top five has an edge, whatever you think. My dad will be behind whatever school I choose."

Senior (1-1) stats: (52 carries/521 yds/6 TDs; 7 rec/217 yds/2 TDs; 34 tackles/4 sacks.

2.6 GPA/Oct SAT retake

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