Springfield standout Bradley to play football in Ivy League

First-team, All-Ohio safety chooses Harvard over 30 other schools

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Delian Bradley is headed to Harvard.

Springfield High School’s first-team all-state safety made the announcement on college football’s early signing day Wednesday in front of more than 100 family members, friends, coaches and teachers in the school library.

The ballcaps on the table in front of him, from right to left, represented Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Arizona State, Michigan State and Harvard. He picked up the UC hat and put it down. He picked up the MSU hat and put it down. Then he reached under the table for a different Harvard hat and put it on.

The room erupted with cheers. Then he unzipped and took off a hoodie to reveal a Harvard shirt.

“I had a lot of good options, a lot of good programs I could’ve chosen from,” Bradley said. “I could only choose one. I feel like Harvard on the football and academic standpoint that I could excel better at that program.”

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Bradley is a three-star recruit and rated as the No. 27 player in Ohio by the 24/7 Sports composite index. He had 31 offers from a variety of schools. Cincinnati, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Michigan State and Kentucky were some of the biggest names. He had MAC offers, and Army and Air Force wanted him. Six other Ivy League schools, including Yale, wanted him, too.

“I am elated,” said Springfield football coach Maurice Douglass. “I am so happy for Delian and his family. This is an opportunity to change three or four generations in his lineage.”

Bradley will play for Tim Murphy, who just completed his 28th season in charge of the Crimson, who were 8-2 this past season and 5-2 in the Ivy League. Murphy is 186-83 at Harvard with three unbeaten seasons and has presided over the most successful era of Harvard football since the early 20th century. Three of Murphy’s former players are in the NFL.

“He knows football and he can get players to the league,” Bradley said. “Making it to the NFL is definitely my goal.”

Bradley was a four-year starting safety for Douglass’ defense and was given play-calling duties from the beginning.

“That meant everything to me and that pushed me to go harder in high school because a coach’s trust gives the player the confidence,” Bradley said.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

In turn, Bradley helped lead the Wildcats to three straight Division I final fours and to this year’s state runner-up finish.

“On the field he was a turnover magnet, and then his work ethic and the things that he did in the weight room are game changers,’ Douglass said. “He’s inspired so many of our young guys. They want to do what Delian did. He’s been a tremendous asset for us. He’s the blueprint and face of your program. He’s that type of guy.”

This season could have only been better with a win in the state championship game, but nonetheless, Bradley said the season was everything the team thought it could be.

“We set high goals this year, high standards for our team,” he said. “We didn’t finish like we thought we would, but we made everything happen like we said we would.”

Despite his football success and his NFL dreams, academics were a huge part of Bradley’s decision. He carries a 4.33 GPA and is a contender to be class valedictorian. He is undecided about his major, but he is eager to start college classes.

“School matters because one day, no matter if you make it to the NFL or not, football has to end,” Bradley said. “And you want to make sure that you have something that you can go forward with in life.”

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