It is just the beginning
Senior to graduate early to begin training at OU
December 21, 2018
It was the Little League championship game, his dad’s team against his uncle’s. Passes are made, tackles are attempted and four-year-old Trejan Bridges tracks the football hoping to catch it. His play falls through, but his determination to succeed inches higher.
Now, as a senior and a nationally ranked five-star wide receiver, Bridges has received over 20 college offers. One among those being The University of Oklahoma, where he will be attending after early graduation to prepare to play as a freshman in the fall.
“When I went to Oklahoma for a visit, it was completely different [compared to other schools],” Bridges said. “They showed my family a whole bunch of love; the coaches’ wives talked to my mom, they talked to my whole family and just took my family in as if it was meant to be. I [also] like the fact that they compete a lot; they want to be the best.”
Before Bridges committed to Oklahoma in October 2017, he went on multiple college visits. He said the experience of receiving the attention was hectic and stressful.
“People would tell [me] all these [negative] things even during the game,” Bridges said. “People would be like ‘you don’t deserve these offers’ [or] something like that to try to throw me off my game.”
When Bridges entered his sophomore year, he was named a starter by wide receiver coach Jeff Hill, who is among those, according to Bridges, who helped give him opportunities to grow as a player and leader.
“Especially this year, he has grown exponentially,” Hill said. “Physically, in the weight room, he lifts hard and breaks a sweat. He knows he’s got to put on some weight and put on some muscle to get ready to fill a position at Oklahoma; he knows he’s got a really good chance to go play next year and get on the field, which is huge. Mentally, he’s grown a lot; he understands the game and his role.”
Hill said one of Bridges’ greatest strengths is his ability to track the ball.
“He knows where the ball is going to drop at and he knows how to get himself in the position to take advantage of that,” Hill said. “Other people will run to that spot and wait for the ball to get there [and] he will be able to time it up and catch the ball before it gets to that spot. There [are] some things you can’t really coach, [because] he’s an instinctual player.”
Coming from a family of athletes, Bridges said he has received a lot of support from them with football and basketball, especially from his older brother.
“My brother played a big role in all of this,” Bridges said. “He’s been there since day one. He actually had a whole bunch of offers for basketball and he ended up failing his senior year of high school, so he didn’t end up getting the success he could have had. [So] he just plays that role of making sure I stay on track and not do things that’ll get me in trouble.”
Along with his family, Bridges said his friends from football have had an impact on him growing up, one of them being Marcus Stiggers, who passed away in 2011.
“It kind of made a big impact because I had done everything with him through football and through everything I’ve done outside of school,” Bridges said. “When he passed away, it kind of took a part of me away, and it kind of grew me differently as a person through football, knowing that I had to do it not just for me but [also] for him.”
Hill said he would describe Bridges as a selfless individual and is excited to see him get stronger and faster in college and beyond.
“He has a strong, kind heart that a lot of people don’t see and a lot of people refuse to see,” Hill said. “I’m excited to see him in New York in a few years in the [NFL] draft and hopefully I’m there beside him. He’s got all the ability in the world; he’s constantly setting goals and trying to go and achieve them. There is no ceiling [for him]; he can go as high as he wants to and he will.”
Despite all the attention, negative and positive, from his football success, Bridges said he continues to persevere with his positive mindset.
“I think a lot of people I’d say want me to not succeed, so the mindset is just [inspired by] the journey that I’ve been on through my accomplishments,” Bridges said. “There’ll be people that are going to be doubting [me, but I] just prevail through it.”