"It feels real rewarding because of all the hard work I've put in has paid off," said Bridgford.
"Over the years, I've really followed the Elite 11, probably since around 7th grade. I remember going out to see Tim Tebow and it was fun to see him and how much talent was out there. Also, when I was a freshman, me and my teammates went out there and caught for some of the quarterbacks, like Troy Smith and DeMarcus Russell and Colt Brennan.
"It will be great to just go out and compete with 11 other top quarterbacks and make some friends with guys that I'll probably end up playing against in coming years. I just want to compete and show my talent level.
It's been somewhat of a whirlwind process for Bridgford, going from one of a multitude of talented Southern California quarterbacks to a nationally-recognized elite prospect, with offers streaming in from the likes of Tennessee, Notre Dame, Arizona State, Texas Tech, Stanford and others.
Bridgford said of the recruiting process and the recent notoriety:
"It's all been really fun for me. I haven't let it go to my head. It's one of those experiences that's really fun for me to be in with the recruiting and everything. It's great to get the recognition."
It wasn't by a stroke of luck that Bridgford achieved his recent accolades. A regular workout and fitness program and significant physical growth buoyed Bridgford's rise from a talented but skinny junior to a prototype college quarterback-to-be.
"My arm strength's improved and I've gotten better with my reads and my accuracy, said Bridgford. "Overall, I'm just a different player from last summer. If you looked at me then, you might not have even known I was a football player. I guess you can say that I look the part more now."
Bridgford's excited to be the cornerstone of the '09 recruiting class and to potentially be able to be one of the first to break in Cal's anticipated Student Athlete High Performance Center –a project that appears to be nearing the green light to move forward if the present injunction is lifted as expected in the coming week.
"It's going to be a sweet deal breaking in the new facilities," said Bridgford. "It's going to help recruiting a lot, too. A lot of recruits go take visits and commit because they like their facilities without thinking about the fact that when they're not working out, they're living in the middle of nowhere."
The 4 star Bridgford knows that description is far from describing his future home in Berkeley and is doing his part to spread the word to other talented athletes that are looking at the Bears.
"I've been on the phone helping recruit and build our class," said Bridgford. "There are some real good players that are interested in Cal."
Bridgford will be joining Phoebus HS (Hampton, VA) QB Tajh Boyd, Los Osos HS (Rancho Cucamonga, CA) QB Richard Brehaut, Meade HS (Ft. Meade, MD) QB Raymond Cotton, Lake Travis HS (Austin, TX) QB Garrett Gilbert (also son of former Cal QB Gale Gilbert), Midland (Midland, MI) HS QB Andrew Maxwell, St. Paul's HS (Mobile, Ala) QB A.J. McCarron, Oconee County HS (Watkinsville, GA) QB Zach Mettenberger, Plant HS (Tampa, FL) Aaron Murray, West Springfield (Lorton, VA) QB Bryn Renner, Cardinal O'Hara (Springfield, PA) QB Tom Savage and Miramar (Miramar, FL) QB Eugene Smith in the 2008 Elite 11 class.
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