Miami: formally known as the crucible of college football talent has produced us it’s next big man: Teddy Bridgewater. Out of Northwestern High School in Miami, Florida, Bridgewater played dynamite as the starting QB. For instance, during his junior year at Northwestern, Bridgewater was passed for an impressive 2,546 yards and 32 touchdowns on a 63% completion percentage, while adding another 658 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns to that mix. Although Bridgewater’s junior stats seemed to be better than his senior year stats, Bridgewater actually improved a lot over the course of his senior season as the Bull’s QB. As compared with his junior year, Bridgewater had a better yards per game average (217.2 yards per game in 2010, 5.0 yards less per game than in 2009), completion percentage (63% in 2009, 67.8% in 2010) and touchdown to interception ratio (2.67 touchdowns per interception in 2009, 11 touchdowns per interception in 2010) than in his senior year than in his junior year. Bridgewater may not have been bombing the ball down the field every single play, however he was smarter with the ball and used his accuracy to his advantage, completing nearly 5% more passes than in his year previous.
His performance during High School earned him multiple awards and recognition for his play. According to Louisville’s official bio on Bridgewater, he was “ranked as the No. 2. dual-threat quarterback in the 2011 class, FACA All District Team/2nd Team All State 6-A, selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, was named Honorable Mention at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl for having the best arm, ranked 16th in the Rivals.com Florida Postseason Top 100 and is ranked as the 113th best player overall, four-star prospect by Rivals.com ranked 141st on ESPNU Class of 150, ranked by Rivals. com as the No. 2 quarterback in the nation and the 16th-best player in the state of Florida, also ranked as the 70th-best player nationally on the Rivals 250, and rated as the No. 6 quarterback by Scout.com.” With all of those special classifications and awards, Bridgewater signed to play QB at the University of Louisville.
After getting his first major playing time in his third game against Kentucky, Bridgewater had a pretty decent freshman season for the Cards. In total, TB was able to throw for 2,129 yards and 14 touchdowns in 11 games with a 64.5% completion and 66 yards and four touchdowns rushing. At the end of the season, Bridgewater ended up being named Big East Rookie of the Year and was selected a CBSSports.com Freshman All-American, a Sporting News Freshman All-American and a Fox SportsNext 2011 Freshman All-American. Although Bridgewater didn’t really show the same set of skills he had at Northwestern High, he was still able to relatively excel and make a name for himself as the everyday starter of the Louisville Cardinals. Considering he led the Cards to the Belk Bowl and a 7-5 regular season record as a freshman, I would call that pretty successful. However, it wasn’t until his sophomore and junior season where Bridgewater was able to make huge strides and perform up to expectations as a dual-threat QB.
In his second season as a Louisville Cardinal, Bridgewater played exceptionally well compared to his freshman season. In 13 games in 2012, Bridgewater threw for 3,718 yards, 27 touchdowns on 287 completions out of 419 attempts (68.5% completion). After leading Louisville to a 10-2 regular season record before defeating the third ranked Gators of Florida in the Sugar Bowl 33-23 as Bridgewater earned MVP honors. To go along with his Sugar Bowl MVP, Bridgewater also earned another multitude of accolades. After the 2012 season, Bridgewater was named Big East Offensive Player of the Year and first team all-conference, selected honorable mention All-American by Pro Football Weekly, recorded six 300-yard games and two 400-yard contests, named first team All-BIG EAST by ESPN.com and Phil Steele, finished eighth in the nation in passing efficiency and 26th in total offense, whiling ranking second in the Big East in passing efficiency, total offense and passing yards. One of TB’s biggest performances would have to be his 279-yard, three touchdown performance against North Carolina in which he completed 82.1% of his passes and led UL to a 39-34 win over the Tar Heels. Little did Bridgewater know his final season as a Louisville Cardinal would be his most important.
In his final season as a junior at Louisville, Bridgewater made a solid argument for his Heisman campaign. In 2013, Bridgewater was able to throw for 3,970 yards, 31 touchdowns and a 71.0% completion rating all while only throwing four interceptions all season. While ranking 10th in the NCAA for total passing yards (3,970), 10th in yards per attempt (9.3 yards per attempt ), Bridgewater ranked 2nd in total completion percentage (71.0%), top-12 in touchdowns (31 touchdowns) and ninth in completions (303 completions). Along with being named to the second team All American Athletic conference, Bridgewater was also a Maxwell award semifinalist. Considering that Bridgewater and the Cardinals lost only one game the entire season (35, 38 vs. UCF), they fared pretty greatly against rival opponents. Going into the draft Bridgewater won’t be known for dual-threat skills he once retained back in high school. With extra time in the off-season and obviously a lot of hard work, Bridgewater was able to concentrate on the throwing part of football rather than the running part. With said time to workout and train, I believe that Bridgewater is a different guy from back during his high school days’. I think with the knowledge and training, I think that Bridgewater will be able to play under any NFL system.