When Sam Bradford arrived in Norman as part of the University of Oklahoma’s 2006 recruiting class, almost all of the stories produced about the team’s incoming crop of talent mentioned the Putnam City North signal caller merely as an afterthought, destined to spend his time at OU dwelling at the bottom of the depth chart.
One local sports talk radio host went as far as to say Bradford was a good kid and a pretty good athlete, but that he would never play a single down at quarterback for OU and would probably end up transferring to play basketball or golf at some small college at some point in the ensuing four years.
It seemed the kid, despite owning some pretty decent credentials, simply didn’t have the right stuff when it came to making the transition from the 17th-ranked pro-style quarterback among national prospects to being a Division-I regular.
Fortunately for the Sooners, Bradford paid no attention to his detractors. He developed a good relationship with OU quarterback coach Josh Heupel even before joining the program and then dove head-first into the team’s playbook.
Bradford remained patient and redshirted. When spring practice rolled around in 2007, Bradford’s diligence paid off, and won the starting job. More than that, Bradford seized the opportunity and went on to prove himself as D-I quarterback by throwing for more than 3,100 yards and 36 touchdowns, while leading the Sooners to a Big 12 title.
The critics could not have been more wrong. “Jay C. Upchurch