For many players, spending a redshirt season largely on the sideline can be very daunting. Especially for many of the bigger name recruits, it could very well be their first time ever not starting. However, the players that make the most of their time spent on the bench are the ones who form the foundational backbone of a team.
Trikweze Bridges is such a player. Coming in at 6’3, 193 pounds from Lanett, Alabama, the four-star recruit was the No. 22 overall safety in his class. In his four years at Lanett High School, Bridges set the state record for most returned interceptions resulting in touchdowns with 13, and tied the state record for most interceptions with 36. Bridges chose Oregon over other notable programs such as Alabama, Georgia, and LSU.
Bridges originally was signed as a safety, but due to depth issues was very quickly thrown into a cornerback slot. Bridges can play both positions equally well, so it makes sense that he would rotate between the two positions based on necessity. It’s not often that you see players as large as Bridges who can move the way he moves. That combination of size, agility and speed will allow him to absolutely wrestle receivers to the ground.
Bridges is a fluidly moving athlete. His ability to intercept a ball, immediately read the field, and transition into an offensive mindset in an instantaneous and smooth fashion is very enjoyable to watch. As he holds the Alabama state record for interceptions, there is no doubt that Bridges is an animal in the air as well. His combination of a lanky form, which allows for more range, and incredible ball-handling skills makes plucking passes out of the air easy for him.
Graduating seniors Brady Breeze and Nick Pickett will leave room on the field for rising junior Jevon Holland in the safety position, and there’s a good chance we’ll see Bridges joining Holland at some point in the future.
College football was a massive transition for Bridges, but he is no stranger to the grind. In an article written by Scott Fields of the Opelika-Auburn News, Bridges’ high school coach Clifford Story stated that he was initially “Frail and very small, but he was so eager to be successful. He put in the extra time, the extra work in the weight room that he needed to do.”
From having gained significant weight to win a spot on the high school football field, to having put on 20 pounds in a little under a year to earn a place in the Ducks’ lineup, Bridges’ love for football and dedication to the grind is unquestionable.
The sudden change from star player to occasional contributor can cause considerable mental and emotional difficulties for a redshirt athlete. However, Bridges’ mental fortitude shines through in an interview by Cody Estremera from The Times News, where he says “being redshirted at first was very stressful but over time, I learned that it was the best thing for me. It made me hungry to want to be on the field. so I am continually doing whatever it takes to get on the field.”
Bridges has a lot of really great things going for him. He’s a versatile defensive player, he has the mentality to be great, and he is chomping at the bit for an opportunity to demonstrate what he can bring to the field. I, for one, am very excited to follow the future of this player.
Top photo from Twitter
Zeke Lerner-Wood is a freshman at the University of Oregon from Alameda, California. Growing up in the Bay, Zeke follows the A’s, Raiders, and Warriors and since starting classes at the University, Zeke has been introduced to the world of NCAA football and has become an avid fan.
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