VandyMania: Jake, you made a commitment to Vanderbilt shortly after you made an unofficial visit the weekend of the Florida game. That must have been quite a week. Can you tell us about it?
Jake Bradford: Yeah, we got up there on a Saturday, and I met with Coach [Charlie] Fisher, my recruiter. I also talked with Coach Cain and Coach Johnson over lunch, and they were really nice. I had a great time talking with them at the training table. Then we went out to watch the team warm up, and that was a lot of fun. Coach Cain brought one of the freshmen tight ends, Brad Allen, over to meet me. Then we went up in the stands and watched the game. I had a really good time. After the game I met with Coach Cain some more. He took me around to all the facilities and the practice field. He answered every question that I had. They treated me really well when I was up there.
VM: But Vanderbilt didn't offer you then. The offer came later, right?
Jake: Right. They called me the following Monday during the school day and actually offered me then.
VM: You slept on it, and then decided that you'd take it?
Jake: Yes, I did.
VM: Some other schools had already offered you, including Central Florida. What was it that made you take this offer and decide to jump on it?
Jake: Well, I had been thinking that my top three schools were Vanderbilt, Georgia Tech and Duke, just because they're all very good schools. I was thinking whichever one would offer me first, I would probably go with them. And after going up to Vanderbilt that weekend, and seeing how their program is, I just decided that I wanted to be at Vanderbilt.
VM: If Georgia Tech or Duke comes along and offers you, will you be tempted to look into it?
Jake: No. I was just really impressed with Vanderbilt. I'm positive that's where I want to be.
VM: You played tight end mostly this year, but you didn't catch that many passes because of the kind of offense your team runs, correct?
Jake: Right. We got a new head coach this year, and an almost all-new coaching staff, and they started running a wing-T offense. So we started running almost every play. I did have about nine catches on the year, and had four touchdowns. It was a lot of running, but we did throw the ball some. It wasn't as many receptions as I'd like to have, but the running was working for us a lot better than some of our seasons in the past (laugh). So I was happy.
VM: So you ended up doing a lot of blocking?
Jake: Right. It's a good offense for high school. We played a lot of teams that ran it, and it worked pretty well.
VM: Did you play any on defense?
Jake: No. They talked about playing me some, but the guys they had playing defensive end were doing a good job, so they never tried me there. I just stuck to offense.
VM: You also punted for a 42-yard average?
Jake: Right. I did punting all year, and then I did kickoffs in the last game of the year and kicked extra points. My punting average set a new record at my high school.
VM: So, did Vanderbilt talk to you any about using you as an emergency punter?
Jake: (Laughs) No, they didn't talk about it, but I'd love to. I love punting. If I could get a chance to do it, I'd love to do it.
VM: But Vanderbilt definitely recruited you to play tight end?
VM: That will come naturally for you?
VM: Was there anything else about Vanderbilt that really appealed to you?
Jake: The fact that they're such a good school. I really wanted to go somewhere where I could get a good education. The campus was beautiful too. I really enjoyed myself and decided that I'd like to go there.
VM: We understand you're a really good student too.
Jake: I had an 1140 on my SAT. I wish I could have done better, but...
VM: I'd say you've got nothing to be ashamed of there. Last question: Vanderbilt hasn't had a lot of recent success, but obviously you didn't let that bother you.
Jake: Not at all. Their program looks like they're on the rise. I was really impressed with how they played Florida. They came out in that first half and had a lot more intensity than Florida. It just looked to me like they were building a program. I was just thoroughly impressed with all I saw.
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