Arizona State University Sun Devils
Norco High School
The new rage in both college and professional is unearthing flexible athletes who can perform as a hybrid rush/end/outside linebacker. ASU has aptly named that position the "Devilbacker" and based on his performance the last two years at that position, Bradford has emerged as one of the elite hybrids in the 2014 draft class.
The junior is quite effective, whether with his hand down and playing on the line in a 4-3 defensive scheme, or standing up and handling underneath areas as a linebacker in the 3-4 alignment. In 27 starting assignments at the position, Bradford has collected 142 tackles (103 solos) with 19 sacks, 39.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage, six forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, two interceptions and eight pass deflections.
One of the more powerful players in the Arizona State program, Bradford boasts a 545-pound squat and has also shown very loose hips and fluid lateral agility, as he recently clocked and impressive 7.03-second timing in the demanding three-cone drills. The 250-pound defender also generates good closing speed, as he was timed at 1.66 seconds in the 10-yard dash at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine and 4.72 seconds in the 40-yard dash during the Sun Devils' recent Pro Day.
Even during his playing days at Norco High School, Bradford was regarded as the best athlete on the gridiron team. He received All-West-Region list honors from Prep Star as a senior and was an All-Farwest Region choice by Super Prep. As a testament to his versatility, Bradford was listed as the fifth-best fullback recruit in the country by ESPN Scouts, Inc and rated by Scout.com as the seventh-best fullback in the nation. He collected 153 carries for 1,093 yards and 18 touchdowns and 13 receptions for 396 yards and four touchdowns during his two-year varsity career.
As a junior, he totaled 209 yards on 17 carries (12.3 avg) with four touchdowns, adding four receptions for 78 yards (19.5 avg). Bradford followed with 136 attempts for 884 yards (6.5 avg) with 14 touchdowns as a senior. He had nine receptions for 318 yards with four touchdowns, averaging an incredible 35.3 yards-per-reception. He also registered four games with over 100 rushing yards, playing for head coach Todd Gerhart, father of recent Jacksonville Jaguars signee, tailback Toby Gerhart.
Bradford signed his national letter-of-intent to attend Arizona State on June 15th, 2009, prior to his high school senior season. He redshirted in 2010, as the Sun Devils tried to decide which side of the ball he was better suited to play for them. He backed up Jamaar Jarrett at weak-side defensive end during the 2011 regular season schedule before earning his first career start vs. Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl. His first year with the varsity produced 12 tackles, but 3.5 of those stops came behind the line of scrimmage.
Bradford would take over the "Devilbacker" position the next two years. He posted 81 tackles and with 20.5 stops-for-loss, along with 11.5 sacks, he joined nose tackle Will Sutton in becoming the first ASU tandem to post double-digit sacks in the same season in school history. He also caused three fumbles and recovered two others to receive All-Pac 12 Conference recognition.
Bradford garnered All-American recognition as a junior, as he continued to have great success in the opposing backfields, coming up with 19.0 stops-for-loss, fourth-best in the Pac-12 Conference and good for 19th in the nation. He tied for the team lead with 8.5 sacks, placing eight in the league in that category. He scored for the first time during his career after running back an interception vs. UCLA and even returned to his high school "roots" when he carried the ball for a 20-yard gain vs. Washington State.
Shortly after the Sun Devils lost to Texas Tech in the Holiday Bowl, Bradford announced that he was leaving school and had applied for the 2014 NFL Draft. "It was an honor and a privilege to coach Carl Bradford at Arizona State University. Carl leaves ASU with his degree and that is what we are most proud of," Sun Devil head coach Todd Graham said in a statement.
"Additionally, with players like Carl, Will Sutton, Chris Young, Osahon Irabor and Alden Darby we built the number-one defense in Pac-12 Conference play and one of the top rated units nationally. We want to be known for tough, stout defense at ASU and Carl helped us achieve that in 2012 and 2013. We appreciate Carl for being a great Sun Devil and wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors."
Bradford's departure will leave Arizona State's defense with just two returning starters from the 2013 team, which ranked fourth in the Pac-12 in total defense and seventh in scoring defense. The junior linebacker had graduated in December with a degree in criminal justice.
Bradford started the final 28 games of his 40-game career at Arizona State, as he recorded 154 tackles (110 solos) with 21.5 sacks for minus-155 yards, 43.0 stops for losses of 213 yards and six quarterback pressures…Deflected eight passes and picked off two others, as he caused six fumbles and recovered two others, advancing one for a 15-yard gain…Also carried once for 20 yards.