PHOTOS: Teddy Bridgewater at Louisville
VIDEO: Bridgewater's highlights at Louisville
Q&A: WDRB's Eric Crawford on Bridgewater's career
AUDIO: Texans 24 Hour Radio Podcast
With top prospect Teddy Bridgewater forgoing his senior season, the Texans will get to see if the Louisville quarterback is worthy of the No. 1 overall pick. Texans Radio and HoustonTexans.com will examine a top prospect each week as part of the 'On the Clock' series.
Bridgewater is being touted by experts as the most NFL-ready of all the quarterbacks entering the Draft this year. Known for his decision-making and knowledge of the game on the field, his mental toughness and maturity have helped him off the field to develop into a potential No. 1 overall pick.
Growing up in the Miami area, Bridgewater emerged from the Northwestern High School football program as a four-star prospect by Rivals.com who ranked him the No. 2 quarterback in the nation. From the outside, no one would know that Bridgewater nearly walked away from the high school football team when his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“He’s a very mature kid,” Eric Crawford, sports journalist with Louisville’s WDRB, said in an interview with Texans Radio. “He tried to quit the high school team to take care of his mom and she wouldn’t let him. Coming through that, he grew up in Miami in a bad situation, they moved about a dozen times. He came through all of that grounded and came to Louisville, already talking about being a role model for other kids from Miami. That’s something you don’t hear guys talk about all time.”
When he arrived at Louisville, Bridgewater increased his focus and was named Big East Rookie of the Year in 2011. As a true freshman, he threw for 2,129 yards, 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions and a 64.5 percent completion rate. Bridgewater didn’t live the life of a typical college student.
“He took it seriously and wasn’t didn’t go out,” Crawford said. “He wasn’t at clubs, he didn’t drink, he didn’t do anything like that. He came in focused very much on football and on doing the right things even to the point where if you ask him about controversial topics like ‘Should players be paid in college sports?’ and his answer was ‘No, I’m getting an education.’”
Bridgewater’s hard work paid off and he graduated from college in 3 1/2 years. In his final season at Louisville, Bridgewater threw for 31 touchdowns and just 4 interceptions and averaged a career-high 305.4 yards per game. He played at a top level in a pro-style offense run by head coach Charlie Strong, now with the University of Texas.
“Whichever city he goes to is probably going to fall in love with him just from the standpoint of what he’s about and the way he handles himself,” Crawford said. “He even asked the school not to do a Heisman trophy campaign on his part because he heard his teammates kidding him about it during a spring workout and decided he didn’t want that to split up the team. He’s a different kind of guy.”