Mark Bradford is that dreamy elite receiver that Stanford feels could make this recruiting class, but all signs were pointing away from Palo Alto until the last couple of weeks. Now, the Cardinal might yet have a little life in this hotly contested race.
All along, Bradford has maintained a list of seven or eight schools at the front of his consciousness, and for some time Stanford was right there in that list. In fact, Bradford had Stanford as one of his top two or three schools back in the beginning of the fall season. But as the Cardinal's fortunes headed south this season, and as the dark cloud of Stanford's admissions process loomed more threatening, Bradford almost completely bumped the Card out of his mind.
Previously armed with just a 960 SAT score, Bradford opted to retake the standardized test in November. He was rewarded with a bump in his score to 1030, and that has the Stanford coaches talking to him more favorably about his admissions chances. Added to that, he says people close to him are urging a fair shot for the Cardinal. "My family keeps reminding me to keep Stanford as an option," Bradford says. "Lots of people close to me and loved ones keep talking about Stanford to me."
Then the bombshell hit this week in Palo Alto as star receiver Teyo Johnson declared for the NFL draft. Bradford has been talking a good deal with Stanford receivers coach David Kelly throughout the recruiting process, but when the two talked this week and the subject of Johnson's NFL departure came up, it breathed a little more life into the relationship.
"Coach Kelly told me that with Teyo leaving, then need a new go-to guy to come there," Bradford relates. "That definitely makes [Stanford] more attractive to me."
Additionally, the senior from Fremont High School in Los Angeles says that he had a good talk recently with coach Tom Williams, when Williams visited the high school.
But the time is ticking away for the Cardinal, with official visits for Bradford passing by into the books. He has already visited Washington State and LSU, and is now visiting Washington this weekend. That leaves just two more official visits he can take, which are currently scheduled for Oregon on Jan. 10 and Notre Dame on Jan. 17. USC is also a very strong school on his mind, but being local he would like to keep that visit unofficial.
So how will Stanford make any headway with this visit schedule? All five are currently slotted for others. Bradford says that if he is accepted by Stanford admissions, he would likely swap the Cardinal in for the Ducks on that first January visit. He is currently filling out that Stanford application and says he hopes to have it submitted within the week.
That means the next meaningful news will be the word he hears back on his application. If admitted, Stanford will at least be back in the race, a minor longshot though they may be.
Bradford says that today his three leaders out of this group of seven schools are USC, LSU and Notre Dame.