ANAHEIM, California - As the No. 1 player in the state of California, the five-star rated Allen Bradford, started his first day of practice for the Air 7 CaliFlorida Bowl there was a sense of calm over the top prospect. Just a few weeks ago, the Rivals100 member narrowed his school choices down to the in-state pair Southern Cal and UCLA.
However, being selected for the seventh annual CaliFlorida Bowl was just as big of an honor for the No. 1 rated outside linebacker in the country. In fact, he says that it's something he grew up waiting to participate in and is putting everything else on the backburner for now.
"It just felt real good to be back in the pads after three weeks of no ball," Bradford said. "I love this honor. I'm playing with the best players in California. It doesn't come around often, so I'm going to make the best I can of it."
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Recruiting has been the main focus of talk about the talented Golden State prospect. Just like during his senior season, choosing a college is already set for Jan. 7 during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and that is not his main focus.
Winning is on his mind now.
"I let it go, I'm just out here to play," Bradford said about his upcoming decision between the Trojans and the Bruins. "That's how I did it in high school. I just played and didn't worry that much about the recruiting process."
The 5-foot-11, 219-pounder who says that he will play safety in college and outside linebacker during the all-star game, says that in the end it came down to staying close to home.
"It came down to being close here with my family and I just fell in love with both coaching staffs at USC and UCLA," Bradford said. "The staffs are different. USC is more hyped up and they seem like they are on the same page as the kids with how they act. UCLA is more laid back, but when game time comes they're very focused."
One thing is for sure – Bradford knows that his January announcement probably won't end all the attention that he has been receiving from the numerous colleges which have recruited him.
"My coach said that once you make a decision, the coaches will still call," Bradford said. "After Jan. 7, I'm not going to worry about it. Everybody will know where I'm going and I'm just going to be getting ready for the next level."