University of Louisville Cardinals
Northwestern High School
Recognized by many as the elite quarterback in the 2014 draft class, Bridgewater was nearly mistake-free during his last two seasons guiding the Cardinals offense. With his keen field vision and confidence rolling out of the pocket, only Bryce Petty of Baylor (three) had fewer passes that were intercepted among NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision starting signal-callers than the Cardinal junior's four errant throws in 2013.
Bridgewater took over the starting quarterback job in his fourth game at Louisville, going on to win 27 of the 36 contests with the first unit. That included 12 victories in 2013, which tied for the most victories by a Cardinals squad in program history, matching the total accrued by the 2006 team. As a sophomore, he guided UL to 11 victories.
Bridgewater threw for 3,970 yards and 31 touchdowns in 2013, while completing 70.96 percent of his passes. In leading the Cardinals to a 12-1 record, he developed into one of the best quarterbacks in the nation. He opened the season by tying his career-high with five touchdown passes in a 49-7 win over Ohio and registered four more in wins over Eastern Kentucky and Florida International. He recorded seven 300-yard passing games and was a second team All-American Athletic Conference selection during the campaign, as he ranked fifth in the nation with a 171.1 pass efficiency rating.
In 39 collegiate games, Bridgewater threw for 9,817 yards, which is third-most in the school annals, while his 72 career touchdown passes also rank as third-best by a Louisville passer. He completed a school-record 68.39 percent of his passes and had just 24 interceptions in 1,142 career pass attempts. He also scored six times on 226 carries. Despite being sacked 85 times during his Cardinals career, he amassed 9,987 yards in total offense, the third-best figure in school annals.
Bridgewater was a recruiting coup for Louisville, as he was the key to the first incoming class by then first-year Cardinals head coach Charlie Strong. Rated a four-star prospect and the sixth-best quarterback in the prep ranks by Scout.com, the rifle-armed quarterback did not show any interest when major college powers Alabama, Auburn, Florida and Louisiana State tried to lure him to their campuses. He also turned down offers from Miami and West Virginia when he signed his letter-of-intent to attend Louisville on Dec. 20, 2010.
Prior to his arrival at Louisville, Bridgewater attended Miami's Northwestern High School, earning All-District first-team and All-State Class 6-A accolades, along with an invitation to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl after his senior campaign. During the bowl game's practices, scouts and recruiters named him the "best arm" at the event. He also earned a spot on ESPN's "Elite 11" and ESPNU150 teams.
Bridgewater took over quarterback duties for Bulls head coach Billy Rolle in 2008, as the sophomore completed 97-of-160 attempts (60.6 percent) for 1,560 yards, 16 touchdowns and three interceptions. He had replaced Jacory Harris (Miami Hurricanes) in the lineup, and he also carried 45 times for 211 yards and two more scores. That performance helped lead Northwestern to a berth in the Class 6A state title contest.
As a junior, Bridgewater passed for 2,546 yards and 32 touchdowns and rushed for 379 yards with five more scores, receiving second-team All-State Class 6A honors. He was also named first-team All-County by the Miami Herald. He finished the 2009 season by throwing for 436 yards and four touchdowns in the 42-27 loss to Miami Central in the 6-A semifinals.
As a senior, Bridgewater missed several games due to a knee sprain, but still managed to set the Dade County record for most touchdown passes in a game with seven. He was named second-team All-State for 6-A, generating 2,606 aerial yards with 22 touchdowns, along with rushing for 223 yards and eight more scores. He graduated from school with a 3.5 grade point average.
Upon arriving at the University of Louisville, Bridgewater made a quick transition from being a dual-threat quarterback to handling coach Charlie Strong's pro-style passing attack. "I'm like Vince Young when he was at Texas," the true freshman stated during 2011 fall camp. "I can carry a team with my arm and my legs. I'm good at throwing on the run and I'm very mobile. I guess I want to learn how to be more of a pro-style quarterback. I need to start taking more snaps under center."
After seeing action in the Cardinals' first three games with the second unit, Bridgewater was named the team's starting quarterback for the final 10 games of the 2011 schedule.
Both CBSSports.com and Sporting News named him to their Freshman All-American team, as he was also honored as the Big East Conference's Rookie of the Year. He completed 64.5% of his passes (191-of-296) for 2,129 yards and 14 touchdowns, but was sacked 33 times and had 12 of his tosses picked off.
As a sophomore, Bridgewater started the team's first 11 games, but a wrist injury kept him on the sidelines for the opening of the regular season finale vs. Rutgers. He would enter the game to complete 20-of-28 passes and rally UL to a 20-17 victory. He compiled a passing efficiency rating of 160.48, which was eighth-best among major college quarte-backs. He threw for 3,718 yards, which ranks fourth on the school season-record chart, hitting on 287-of-419 tries (68.5%), becoming just the fourth player in Cardinals history to attempt at least 400 passes in a season.
Bridgewater receiver first-team accolades during the inaugural season for the American Athletic Conference. The Manning Award finalist was also named an All-American honorable mention in 2013. He surpassed all of his previous career-best numbers, completing 303-of-427 tosses (71.0%) for 3,970 yards (third-best on the school season-record list), 31 touchdowns and only four interceptions. He threw for over 300 yards five times, saving his best when in front of family and friends, as he soundly beat Miami, 36-9, at the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando, throwing for 447 yards and three touchdowns on 35-of-45 attempts, adding another score on the ground.
Having graduated in December, 2013, after just three years at the university, Bridgewater announced after the bowl game that he was leaving college football for the professional ranks. "After discussing all the options with my family and the coaching staff, I have decided to forgo my senior season and declare for the NFL Draft," Bridgewater said.
"This was an extremely difficult decision for me. I can't express how much my time at Louisville has meant to me. These past three years have allowed me to mature as a person and leave the university as better person and with my degree in hand, which was one of my goals. I will cherish every moment on the field and off the field, and every bond that I built. I will forever represent the university with the utmost pride and respect. I want to extend a special thank you to my teammates, Tom Jurich, all the academic staff and professors, the coaching staff, support staff, students and the Cardinals' fan base. "I didn't know much about Louisville when I made the decision to attend, but in the end, it was one of the best decisions I could have ever made."
It can not be understated how important Theodore "Teddy" Bridgewater was to the Louisville program in his three years at the school. The four-star recruit out of Miami led the Cardinals to a 27-9 record in his three seasons as a starter at the school, including two conference titles and three bowl appearances, the highlights being a Sugar Bowl victory over Florida as a sophomore and another victory over Miami in his final game. He guided the team to five second-half comebacks vs. nationally ranked opponents and threw for over 300 yards in 13 contests, including three 400-yard performances.
Many sports writers that have covered the team credit the impact Bridgewater had on the football program in playing a major role in Louisville earning an invitation to join the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2014. Among active NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision performers, he ranks 10th in yards passing (9,817), 12th in both pass completions (781) and touchdown passes (72), 15th with an average of 20.03 pass completions per game and 16th with 9,987 yards in total offense.
Bridgewater appeared in 39 games for Louisville, starting each of his final 36 contests, as he completed 781-of-1,142 passes (68.39%) for 9,817 yards, 75 touchdowns and 24 interceptions…Added 170 yards and six scores on 226 carries (0.75 ypc), as he touched the ball 1,368 times for 9,987 yards in total offense…Recorded one solo tackle…Threw for at least 300 yards in 13 games, including three 400-yard contests.