By Jon D. Gaede, BVN Sports –
No Trojan football player knows more about patience than Allen Bradford. The fifth year senior from Colton High School, recruited by Pete Carroll and Todd McNair, may have earned the ‘golden ball’ number one tailback at USC.
The former Colton Yellowjacket had another breakout game on Saturday as he ran for 222 yards on 21 carries in a heartbreaking loss to Washington, 32-31.
Bradford, originally recruited as a 6’0” 230 lb. linebacker, eventually found a home behind Matt Leinart. The Trojan routine was to drive the ball 80 yards, throw a swing pass in the flat to Bradford, for a guaranteed USC touchdown.
It was the sure thing that worked many times.
From Leinart to Mark Sanchez to current quarterback Matt Barkley, Allen Bradford has smelled the roses and held the National Championship Trophy. When healthy, he has been the back the Trojans depend on.
Each year, USC has reloaded with premium running-backs to compete for precious carries on Saturdays. In the Trojan system, Bradford has had to contend with quality athletes like Stafon Johnson, Joe McKnight, C.J. Gable, Ronald Johnson, Stanley Havili, Marc Tyler and this years freshman phenom Dillon Baxter, just to name a few.
During spring football, where positions are earned through what may be the most intense competition in the country, Bradford emerged as the front runner, so to speak and slotted at number one. By a strange twist of fate, when the Trojans landed in Hawaii, Senior Marc Tyler had been pencilled in ahead of Allen.
Bradford, the patient one, touched the ball only eight times on the island and only three times during the home win against Virginia. His twelve carries for 133 yards, on the road against Minnesota, impressed the coaches, once again.
The Washington State game was a predicted 50 point rout, as USC went with a five back rotation. Bradford had a mere seven carries, but gained a substantial 84 yards for a hefty 12 yard average.
Bradford’s breakout 222 yard game, on Saturday at the Coliseum against Washington, may have been his most impressive performance as a Trojan.
Unfortunately, the usually stingy USC defense just couldn’t stop Husky quarterback Jake Locker. The Heisman trophy candidate rushed for 100 and passed for 310 yards on the day. Of note, former Redlands East Valley running back, Chris Polk, had a nifty 92 yards on the ground for Washington.
USC’s NCAA imposed two year ban from bowl consideration is not lost on Bradford.
Out of loyalty and patience, his mere presence and phenomenal performance upon the gridiron has impressed his teammates and opponents.
Pete Carroll once said of Allen Bradford’s God given talent, “He is the most explosive back, I have ever seen”. To put this year into perspective, Bradford has carried the ball 40 times for 440 yards, in the last three games. Former Colton coach Harold Strauss may not be so surprised.
Although the Trojans are not bowl eligible, they have a several intriguing games on the near horizon. USC travels to play 16th ranked Stanford in Palo Alto on Saturday. Then it’s top five ranked Oregon, California and Arizona State at home.
Young quarterback Matt Barkley hasn’t been as sharp of late. The Trojans may do well by handing off to the sure handed, downhill running Allen Bradford. With a lofty twelve yards per carry, Bradford may the most dependable player in the huddle.
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