Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Teddy Bridges Troubled Waters for U of L

With an outstanding freshman campaign behind him and a bright sophomore season ahead, who wouldn’t want to hitch their wagon behind the considerable talents of University of Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater?

Today, Bridgewater’s recruitment seems like such a no-brainer. He may have been one of Louisville’s most important signings ever. Yet, if you reverse the clock more than a year, there were some people who believed Cardinal Head Coach Charlie Strong was actually making a mistake by pursing Bridgewater.  

At the time, U of L already had a commitment from another highly regarded quarterback in local product Damarcus Smith. As the thinking went, Strong was putting Smith’s commitment at risk by courting another quarterback. Some of Smith’s staunchest supporters took to the message boards. They criticized Strong for disrespecting a local kid who was loyal to the program in favor of a pie-in-the-sky guy from Florida. 

Whether it was because of Bridgewater’s signing or not, Smith did renege on his commitment to the Cardinals, just as some predicted. He went to the University of Central Florida instead, flamed out there and wound up at Western Kentucky University. He still hasn’t played a down in college. Meanwhile, Bridgewater reversed U of L’s football fortunes, leading them to a share of the Big East title with a series of gritty performances. 

Recruiting is such a crap shoot. Who knows what would’ve happened had Strong never pursued Bridgewater. Maybe Smith would’ve accomplished just as much or more. Maybe not. I, for one, am glad we didn’t have to find out.