Less than week ago I thought that LSU transfer running back Tre Bradford was a full season away from taking any significant snaps as a member of Oklahoma’s offense. That all changed on Tuesday when SoonerScoop broke the story that Marcus Major was ineligible for the 2021 season. With that news Bradford went from being a season away to a snap away as he is now the third of just three scholarship running backs on Oklahoma’s roster.
A consensus 4-star recruit, Bradford was listed as the #13 running back in the 2020 class and picked LSU over 27 other scholarship offers. After a season in Baton Rouge he jumped into the transfer portal and landed in Norman as a prized “get” during the offseason.
“Oh, definitely. I mean, he wouldn’t be here if he didn’t,” is how DeMarco Murray responded last week when asked if Bradford could play this season. Clearly he can, and by all accounts he’s extremely talented, but the question is regarding his readiness. The only thing said about Bradford since camp opened up that isn’t praiseworthy is that he’s still working to pick up the offense.
The learning curve for Bradford just shrank but he certainly seems to be up to the challenge. “His versatility is extremely, extremely important for our room. He does some things that the other guys can’t do,” Murray said about Bradford in the same statement. With just 10 carries, for 53 yards, as an LSU Tiger, Bradford doesn’t bring a ton of experience to Norman but he does bring a ton of potential. “He’s a very explosive dude,” Kennedy Brooks said about Bradford earlier in the week. “When the ball is in his hands, he does great things. He’s fast, strong. I see a bright future for him.”
The first game week of the season is just a few days away and Oklahoma will prep for Tulane with Eric Gray and Kennedy Brooks as the top two running backs in the offense. They will make up one of the best duos in the nation and Marcus Major was supposed to be the third wheel that could bring a change of pace against opposing defenses. Now that responsibility most likely falls on Bradford’s shoulders and the best part of that is he won’t have to have the complete playbook down to do it.
Tre Bradford needs to be on your radar at this point. The 5-11/211 sophomore is only going to get better, and more dangerous, as the season progresses. He’ll have every bit the opportunity, if not more so, to blossom in the same way that Marcus Major did in 2020. Major showed flashes of his potential by running for 43 yards and a score in Oklahoma’s four-overtime win against Texas. Then he exploited the Florida defense for 110 yards, and a score, on just nine carries in the Cotton Bowl. With the departures of T.J. Pledger and Rhamondre Stevenson in the offseason, this fall was Major’s best opportunity to work his way into the rotation and have the most significant season of his Sooner career. Tre Bradford gains that opportunity now and it doesn’t seem to be something he’ll be willing to relinquish.