By Craig Beilfuss
Former LSU Tiger and Muskegon Big Red Anthony Bradford has begun preparation for the upcoming National Football League Draft.
The draft is scheduled for April 27-29 in Kansas City.
Bradford, an offensive lineman and 2019 Muskegon High School graduate, made the official announcement on January 6, just a few days after LSU’s 63-7 win over Purdue in the Cheez-It Citrus Bowl. Bradford started at right guard.
The 6-5, 345-pound junior appeared in 13 games this season, including 12 starts. The versatile offensive lineman made starts at three positions on the offensive line during hius 29-game career with LSU. During the 2002 season, Bradford played a total of 899 offensive snaps and was called for only two penalties. He allowed four sacks all season.
Since he declared for the NFL Draft, Bradford moved to Dallas to train for the upcoming NFL Combine, which will be Feb. 28 – March 6 in Indianapolis.
Bradford is projected to be a third- or fourth-round draft pick according to his agent.
“The time was right to take my talent and my skills to the next level,” Bradford said. “The decision was wholly mine. I had been thinking about it for the past two months. After that my mom was part of the decision as well.” Bradford’s mother, Latoya, resides in Muskegon.
Bradford was instrumental in the turnaround of LSU football, going from 6-7 and finishing last in the SEC West in 2021 to winning 10 games and reaching the SEC Championship Game in 2022.
“I made lifelong relationships at LSU from the first day that I arrived on campus to my last day,” Bradford said. “Those are relationships that I will always cherish. LSU shaped me into a man, the man that I am today. It was a great experience and I had a lot of life lessons there.”
Those solid relationships included Coach Brian Kelly.
“I had a good relationship with coach Brian Kelly,” Bradford said. “He’s a great head coach who holds everybody accountable.”
During his playing days at Muskegon, Bradford was a four-star prospect. He was the No. 11 offensive tackle prospect in the nation and the No. 3 overall prospect from the state of Michigan according to Rivals. He blocked for former Big Reds quarterback Cameron Martinez, who now plays at Ohio State.
Bradford helped Muskegon to a 27-game winning streak and at the same time captured one Division III state title and two runners-up finishes.
“Muskegon will always be the place where it all started and I have so many relationships and I’ll have longtime relationships,” said Bradford. “Coach (Shane) Fairfield was the first man to teach me on how to be accountable, along with Coach Bolles.”
Bradford’s journey has taught him a lot about the ups and downs of football at various levels. And now as he embarks on what he hopes is a long and successful career in th NFL.
“There will be some dark days and there will be days when you have some doubt, but you can never give up,” Bradford said. “Manifest what you want and what you have.”
As for the draft day, which is just 3 months away, Bradford said, “It doesn’t matter where I go in the draft and to what team. I just want to showcase my skills and my talent at that level.”