The Pitt football program received a commitment from 2021 wide receiver Jaden Bradley from DeMatha Catholic in Hyattsville, MD. The towering 6-foot-4-inch, 190-pound receiver chose Pitt over Wake Forest and Virginia. The Panthers were the first P5 school to offer him a scholarship.
To gain perspective on the Panthers newest receiver, Pittsburgh Sports Now spoke with Western Pennsylvania native and DeMatha Catholic head football coach Bill McGregor.
“I think Jaden’s upside is absolutely unbelievable. A year ago, he was a quarterback. He was a JV quarterback on the JV football team, had never played wide receiver,” said McGregor. “I finally asked him about trying wide receiver. He was initially reluctant because he had been a quarterback his entire life. He finally agreed, and you could just see from day one him getting better and better and better.”
“Last year during the season, I think he had an outstanding year for us, but he’s still new, still learning the coverage aspect, the reads as a wide receiver. He improved each week. Now his potential is unlimited. He’s 6-foot-4 inches, he can run, jump and he’s very athletic. Jaden played basketball here at DeMatha. If you could play football and basketball here, you’re a pretty good athlete. He played on the JV basketball team, did a great job there as a sophomore and then turned his focus towards football this past year. I’ll say it again; his upside is unlimited.”
Panthers wide receivers coach Chris Beatty is in the process of revamping the wide receiving corps. Aydin Henningham, Jordan Addison and Jaylon Barden were added in the 2020 recruiting class. Bradley is two inches taller than Henningham and would be the tallest wideout on the roster.
Coach McGregor was asked about Bradley’s off the field demeanor and he replied, “Jaden is hardworking, a great teammate, leader, wants to be successful, very intelligent, picks up things right away, and works at it.”
“Prior to the pandemic he was hitting the weight room, conditioning, then going to the field every day and catching passes with our quarterback and running the routes. They were working on improving. He’ll work seven days a week at it. He’ll do everything possible to improve and he’s an excellent student that has over a 3.0 grade point average. His mother’s an attorney dad’s a professional that played football at Furman University. Jaden comes from great stock and his parents have ingrained in him the importance of education. His work ethic translates into the classroom, weight room and football field.”
Bradley visited Pitt last November when he attended the regular-season finale against Boston College. He was offered a scholarship during the visit. Jaden will be the 3rd DeMatha standout on the Panthers’ roster. He joins redshirt sophomores Judson Tallandier and John Morgan.
“Andre Powell recruits the DC area. He wanted names of five players he could focus on. Jaden was one of the five names I gave him,” he said. “Andre really put effort into recruiting Jaden then Pitt’s wide receivers’ Coach (Chris) Beatty got involved. I’ve known Coach Beatty forever. He was at Maryland not too long ago. Both Andrew and Coach Beatty are relentless when they get going so they worked hard to land Jaden’s commitment. I think the closer was the call with Coach Narduzzi. Pat’s an enthusiastic, high energy guy. I think he wakes up in the morning breathing enthusiasm. Jaden had a great call with Pat, called me shortly after and told me ‘I want to go to Pitt’.”
“Wide receiver is still a new position for Jaden. He played one year at the position and continued to improve game after game,” he said. “Our last game of the season we played St. John’s and I believe he had six or seven catches. His future is in front of him. He has no idea how good he’s really going to be because with that height, athleticism, work ethic, you can’t measure those intangibles. That’s what’s going to carry Jaden. I think he’s going to be a very high achiever.”
Harry Psaros can be found on Twitter at @PittGuru