Sam Bradford

Samuel Jacob Bradford (born November 8, 1987) is an American football quarterback for the St. Louis Rams of the National Football League. He was the first overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, and played college football at Oklahoma. In 2008, as a redshirt sophomore, Bradford became the second sophomore to win a Heisman Trophy. Bradford also holds the NCAA record for touchdown passes by a freshman, with 36.

Early years

Bradford was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.[1] He attended Putnam City North High School in Oklahoma City, where he starred in football, basketball and golf. As a senior quarterback for his high school football team in 2005–2006, he threw for 2,029 yards and 17 touchdowns in 12 games.[2] His senior year in basketball, he averaged a double-double.[3] However, Bradford was a three-star recruit not that highly ranked among the high school class of 2006,[4] with his highest ranking being No. 12 amongst only Pro-Style quarterbacks by recruiting source, behind Pat Devlin, Juice Williams, Josh Freeman, and being overshadowed by the likes of five-star recruits Mitch Mustain, Matthew Stafford and Tim Tebow.[2][5]

College career

Freshman season

In 2006, Oklahoma’s starting quarterback Rhett Bomar, then a sophomore, was dismissed from the team for violating NCAA rules. Paul Thompson, a senior quarterback-turned-wide receiver, converted back to quarterback and led the 2006 Oklahoma Sooners football team to win the Big 12 Championship Game. His departure left a void at the quarterback position at Oklahoma. Six players on the roster tried out for the starting position during the following off-season, including three walk-on quarterbacks,[6] true freshman Keith Nichol (a 4-star recruit and 6th-ranked dual-threat quarterback in the 2007 recruiting class, who later transferred to Michigan State University), junior Joey Halzle (the only one with game experience), and Bradford, a redshirt freshman. On August 21, 2007, Bradford won the starting quarterback role for the 2007 team.[7]

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Bradford (left) with Joey Halzle (center) and Hays McEachern (right) during spring practice in April 2007

In his first game for the Sooners, against the University of North Texas, Bradford completed 21 of 23 attempts for 363 yards and three touchdowns in a little over two quarters, breaking the school record for passing yards in a half, held by his quarterback coach Josh Heupel, with 350.[8] The very next game, Bradford broke Heisman Trophy winner Jason White‘s school record for most consecutive pass completions with 22 (18 came in the first half and four at the start of the second).[9]

In the second week of the 2007 season, Bradford was named the national offensive player of the week by the Walter Camp Foundation[10] after tying the school record for most touchdown passes in a game with five.[11] Having thrown 25 touchdowns through his first nine games, Bradford was on pace to break the NCAA freshman record of 29 touchdowns set by David Neill in 1998 and tied by Colt McCoy in 2006.

In the November 17, 2007 game against Texas Tech, Bradford suffered a concussion of unknown severity. He was removed from the game and replaced by back-up quarterback Joey Halzle. The Sooners lost the game, 27–34. [12] Bradford was able to play in the Bedlam game against Oklahoma State on November 24. [13][14]

During the November 24, 2007 game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys, Bradford broke the NCAA freshman record of 29 touchdowns by passing his 30th touchdown to Joe Jon Finley during the second quarter.[15] At the Missouri Tigers game, Bradford threw for 209 yards and 0 interceptions. He was 18–26 and threw for two touchdowns.

The Sooners won the Big 12 Championship after defeating Missouri for the second time in a season. The Sooners played the West Virginia Mountaineers in the Fiesta Bowl on January 2, 2008 and lost 48–28. It was Bradford’s first BCS bowl game as a starter.

Sophomore season

In week 8 of the following season against Kansas, Bradford surpassed quarterback coach Josh Heupel‘s school record for passing yards in a single game with 468 yards. Bradford led the Sooners to their third straight Big 12 Championship and defeated Missouri 62–21. In the process, the Sooners broke Hawaii’s 2006 record for the most points in a single season with 702 points. Also, the Sooners were the first team in NCAA history who had scored 60 or more points in five straight games. Oklahoma finished the 2008 regular season with a 12–1 record, ranking #2 in the AP Poll and #1 in the BCS Standings. The Sooners earned a trip to play Florida at the 2009 BCS National Championship Game.

After the regular season, Bradford captured the Davey O’Brien Award[16] and the Heisman Trophy.[17][18] He is the second sophomore, after 2007 winner Tim Tebow of the University of Florida, to receive the Heisman; he also became the fifth University of Oklahoma player, as well as the first person of Native American descent since Jim Plunkett in 1970, to capture the trophy.[19] Bradford received 1,726 total points while the other finalists, Colt McCoy, of the University of Texas, and Tim Tebow, received 1,604 and 1,575, respectively. Tebow, however, collected more first-place votes, 309, while Bradford got 300. Bradford got the most points thanks to the help of his 315 second-place votes. A total of 926 voters participated in the balloting.

When combined with Blake Griffin‘s Naismith Award, Oklahoma became the first school to have a winner in both top basketball and football individual awards in the same year. Bradford was also voted the Associated Press College Football Player of the Year. Bradford received 27 votes, again beating McCoy (17 votes) and Tim Tebow (16 votes).[22] Bradford is the third Oklahoma Sooner to win the award, joining Josh Heupel (2000) and Jason White (2003). Heupel and White were also quarterbacks, with Heupel being the current quarterbacks coach for Oklahoma.

Bradford faced Florida, led by Tebow, in the 2009 BCS National Championship Game.[23] He threw 26-of-41 passes for 256 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. Florida ended up beating Oklahoma 24–14.[24]

Junior season

Bradford announced that he would forgo the 2009 NFL Draft to return to Oklahoma for his junior season.[25] In the Sooners’ first game of the season (against Brigham Young), Bradford suffered a 3rd degree AC joint sprain one play after becoming Oklahoma’s all-time passing leader. Playing without Bradford for the second half of the game, Oklahoma went on to lose 13–14. Bradford was originally scheduled to return in about three to six weeks,[26] but head coach Bob Stoops initially refused to either confirm or deny that timetable.[27] After missing three weeks, Bradford returned to the field during the Baylor game, and completed 27-of-49 passes for 389 yards and one touchdown, leading the Sooners to a 33–7 victory.[28] Bradford re-injured his right shoulder on October 17, 2009 in the Red River Rivalry against Texas on the second drive of the game. It was later announced that he would undergo season-ending shoulder surgery and enter the 2010 NFL Draft. [29]

Awards and honors

2010 NFL Draft

Although he likely would have been one of the first quarterbacks taken in the 2009 NFL Draft, Bradford decided to return to Oklahoma for his junior season in January 2009.[50] But on October 25, 2009, Bradford announced he would forego his final year at Oklahoma and enter the 2010 NFL Draft.[51] Commonly considered one of the top prospects available, Bradford was projected as high as the No. 1 overall pick for most of the preseason and the early part of the regular season.[52][53][54]

Due to his shoulder injury, Bradford did not throw at the 2010 NFL Combine, however he was measured and participated in interviews and medical examinations. He was measured at 6–4¼ and 236 pounds, about 15 pounds above his college playing weight. Former scout Daniel Jeremiah wrote that Bradford carried the weight well, as in “muscled not puffy.”[55] Bradford scored 36 out of 50 on the Wonderlic test, well above the average of 28.5 for the 30 NFL quarterbacks slated to start in 2010.[56]

On March 19, Bradford met with St. Louis Rams general manager Billy Devaney and offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur in Pensacola, Florida, where he has been training and rehabbing since undergoing surgery on his throwing shoulder

St. Louis Rams

On April 22, 2010, Bradford was selected by the St. Louis Rams as the first overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.[59] It was the first time the Rams selected a quarterback in the first round of a draft since the selection of Bill Munson in the 1964 NFL Draft. Bradford is the first No. 1 pick out of Oklahoma since Billy Sims was selected top overall by the Detroit Lions in the 1980 NFL Draft. Bradford will be wearing #8 in honor to Troy Aikman who also attended OU before transferring to UCLA. He will be competing for the starting quarterback position against A.J. Feeley.

At the Rams’ rookie minicamp in late April/early May, Bradford made a good impression.[60]


Bradford is an official citizen of the Cherokee Nation, and is also listed on the tribe’s rolls.[61][62] He is one-sixteenth[63][64][65] Cherokee through his paternal great-great-grandmother,[62][63] Susie Walkingstick, who was a full-blooded Cherokee.[66][67] Bradford is the first person of Cherokee descent to start at quarterback for a Division I university since Sonny Sixkiller, a full-blooded Cherokee, who played for the University of Washington during the 1970–72 seasons.[66] Greg Maddox, a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, started for James Madison from 1996–98 and is the last Native American to hold the distinction before Bradford.[67] Bradford also holds the distinction of being the first Native American to win the Heisman Trophy. [68]

His father, Kent Bradford, was an offensive lineman for the Sooners from 1977–78.

Bradford is also an avid ice hockey fan. At one point Bradford compared his love for hockey to his love for football. According to a January 6, 2009 report, his favorite team is the Vancouver Canucks.[69]

Bradford is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at OU, as he has been since high school. He also reads the story of David and Goliath before every game, and was featured on the cover of STV (a Christian athletic magazine).[70]

In 2009, Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett declared January 13 as “Sam Bradford Day” in Oklahoma City.[71]

As well, Bradford appeared in a short film of testimonials from celebrity videos called, I AM SECOND; sharing his faith about Jesus Christ and winning the Heisman Trophy.

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