Elite wide receiver Mark Bradford (ranked #12 in the country by TheInsiders) took a very impactful visit to Stanford last week (1/10), which catapulted the Cardinal into his top four schools of choice, but this past weekend (1/17) the talented wideout made the highly anticipated trip to South Bend for an official visit to Notre Dame.
Going into the visit, Bradford told The Bootleg that his leading foursome were Stanford, LSU, Notre Dame and USC. He had already taken his official trips to The Farm and LSU, as well as the two Washington schools which he has since eliminated from his consideration. The Irish were blessed with the final of his five allowed official trips, and there was much speculation about what could happen while there.
Would the cold freeze him out of Irish consideration?
Would he be won over by Tyrone Willingham and commit on site?
Would the experience somehow nudge him away from completing his Stanford application?
None of the following proved true, to the surprise of many rabid message board maniacs. Bradford in fact reveals that the trip did not make any big waves, at least such that his top list of schools remained unaffected.
"Right now, I'm still trying to narrow down my list," he says. "I still have the same top four: Stanford, LSU, Notre Dame and USC, but I hope to start narrowing that down this week. I think I'll go from four to three, then down to two and then my final decision."
One wild card school left just on the outside is UCLA, where Bradford will take an unofficial trip this Thursday. He speaks excitedly about new head coach Karl Dorrell, who is getting up to speed on recruiting and trying to pick up the shattered pieces left behind by Bob Toledo.
But the question on many Stanford fans' minds is the application he was filling out for the admissions process. Bradford was enthused enough by his visit to The Farm that he started work last week on the forms, but was left still with plenty of work to do after his latest trip. Would he follow through with the work even after his encounter with Touchdown Jesus? "Oh, definitely," he responds. "I'm absolutely going to finish the application this week. I have one essay done and two of my teacher recommendations done." A collective Cardinal sigh now ensues.
The trip was a very positive one for Bradford, though, who says the big positives were meeting all the Irish coaches, getting a feel for the players, and getting an overall feel of the campus. He spent the most time with receivers coach Trent Miles, but also spent quality time with Kent Baer, Buzz Preston and of course Tyrone Willingham. He even got a kick out of being in snow for the first time in his life.
"It was fun," he notes. "The weather is not going to be a negative thing for me, but I can see how people would get tired of it in a hurry."
The only disappointment in the Notre Dame trip was that Bradford did not fly out as early as the other recruits. He had a basketball game Friday night (scored 17 points), but by the time he arrived on Saturday, it was 10 in the evening. "I had missed out on all the Saturday activities, and that bummed me out," he laments. Though he was able to still pack in his full two days of activity, returning to Los Angeles late Monday evening.
One extra activity he was able to experience was an individual breakfast with a coach of the Notre Dame basketball team. Bradford is a talented point guard for his Fremont High School team, also playing at a high competitive level on the summer AAU circuit, and he aspires to play hoops on top of football in college.