February 28, 2010

Butler (NC) safety Mark Bridges drawing plenty of interest

One of the first offers Central Michigan issued out in the 2011 class was to Butler (NC) defensive back Mark Bridges. Last season the athletic Bridges led his team to a state championship while racking up around 80 tackles, 5 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

Currently, CMU and East Carolina are the only two offers for the 5-foot-11 and 187 pound junior, but Bridges was offered by the Chippewas during the Butch Jones regime and has yet to have any contact with the new staff at CMU.

"No, not really," said Bridges on whether he has heard from the new CMU staff. "They offered me when I was at Michigan's football camp, I basically performed real well there and received a few medals. I think it was the head coach who offered me, but I haven't really heard from the new staff at CMU. I'm still very interested in them though, they were my first offer and that will always be special."

While CMU and East Carolina are his only two offers, Bridges is hearing from quite a few schools around the nation and doesn't figure to stand pat with two offers for much longer.

"Oh, man, a bunch," said Bridges on the schools contacting him right now. "Off the top of my head, NC State has been showing me a lot of interest, Wake Forest, East Carolina of course, Clemson, Tennessee, UCLA, Duke, Alabama, Georgia Tech and all the Florida schools like Miami (FL)."

And Bridges has already begun to check out some schools during their Junior Days.

"I went to Alabama's Junior Day last weekend and I'm heading to Kentucky this weekend. I've also been to Georgia Tech and NC State."

And what did he think about his visits so far?

"NC State has been showing me a whole lot of love and I actually played the state championship game on their field. I really like their facilities and the coaching staff was nice. Alabama, man that was like heaven," laughed Bridges. "Their facilities were like out of this world and everything was state of the art and amazing. Georgia Tech, it's just in the right place. It's right there in Atlanta and they have a good fan base. I'm also looking at maybe majoring in engineering, and I hear they are like the top engineering school in the country."

Like many prospects who start to take their visits and get acclimated to the recruiting process, Bridges has a few notable things he is looking for when he checks out a school.

"Location doesn't matter to me. I mean, I'd like to be within like six or seven hours of my home, I don't necessarily want to go to California or anything," laughed Bridges. "The other major thing I'm looking for is the opportunity to get on the field. Playing time is my number one and I want to go to a school where I have the chance to play early. I'm also looking at coach prestige, the type of systems they run, facilities, and of course academics."

Most schools are recruiting him as a safety, but his versatility has a few schools looking at him as a corner. Regardless, he is a playmaker in the secondary and has an array of physical and mental tools that make him a highly regarded prospect.

"Instincts, that's my main strength. I'm able to read plays and make the proper adjustments. I break down and study film to get a better feel for the game. Then, I would say my leaping ability, I have a 38 inch vertical jump, and also my strength. My speed is only average, but it gets me where I need to go. I have some area for improvement there."

Although still very early in the recruiting process, Bridges has a list of top schools he is looking at.

"The top two have to be the schools that have offered me, Central Michigan and East Carolina. Then I would say Miami (FL), Georgia Tech, Alabama and NC State."

Regarded as one of the top prospects in the state of North Carolina, Mark Bridges is a prospect who many expect to rise in recruiting circles. Look for more on him as he hits camps this summer and preps for his senior season.

Stick to ChippewaCountry for the latest in CMU athletics and recruiting.

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