Bradley McDougald Has Been Influenced By Many

March 29, 2010

Kansas football wide receiver Bradley McDougald has been influenced by a number of people in his life and has learned from every one of them. As a child he learned about cooking from an aunt. He learned about overcoming obstacles from having a brother with cancer. He learned he could have a bright future from a grade school basketball coach. Last season he learned about football from teammates Kerry Meier and Dezmon Briscoe.

All of these influences have made McDougald want to be able to be a positive person in others lives. One way he wants to accomplish his goal is by becoming a teacher after graduation.

The Brother

Growing up in Dublin, Ohio, McDougald had an early role model in his older brother Brandon. Just a couple of years older than Bradley, Brandon was diagnosed with cancer in fifth grade. He lost his leg to the disease and was saddled with crutches.

“My brother is a person I look up to,” McDougald said when asked about people who have made him the person he is. “He used to play basketball and football like everyone else and then he couldn’t play anymore. I try to play for him.”

McDougald said Brandon comes to visit and is “just a normal 22-year old.” The positive attitude Brandon possesses does not go unnoticed by McDougald, who appears to have learned from Brandon’s struggles.

“It was tough, but it was just another roadblock to overcome,” McDougald said.

The Coach

When McDougald was in sixth grade his athletic abilities were noticed by his basketball coach Robert Jefferson. “Coach J” as he is called by McDougald realized that McDougald could have a future in athletics and convinced his family to move to an area where he would have a better chance to get recruited.

McDougald eventually enrolled at Scioto High School in nearby suburban Dublin, Ohio. There he excelled in both football and basketball, earning all-district honors in both sports. He was recruited by Ohio State as a defensive back, but wanted to play on the offensive side of the ball and chose Kansas.

As a true freshman in 2009, McDougald played in all 12 games and recorded 33 receptions for 318 yards. He also saw limited time on defense towards the end of the season and recorded five tackles and an interception.

The talented 6-1, 195-pounder also returned kickoffs, fielding 21 for 395 yards and an 18.8 average in 2009.

McDougald said the elementary basketball coach pushed him to improve in sports and in life and that his guidance led him to want to be a teacher in the future.

“He was a very influential person in my life,” McDougald said. “If I could do for someone else what he did for me, I would be happy. I am majoring in communications, but when I graduate I want to do the Teach For America program.”

The program is designed to have recent college graduates teach in low-income rural and urban regions to assist those children who don’t have access to the educational opportunities they need.

As for himself in the classroom, McDougald has posted a very respectable grade-point average and could be a candidate for Academic All-Big 12 honors during his career.

The Teammates

Playing alongside the two best wide receivers statistically in Kansas football history, McDougald became a student, learning from Briscoe and Meier in his first year of college in 2009.

Already boasting great athletic ability, McDougald learned about the mental part of the game from the veterans. He saw the veterans’ work ethic and learned about what to look for on the field.

“The biggest thing they taught me was how to read (defensive) coverages,” McDougald said. “In high school you can get by on talent. In the meeting rooms, they would show me the coverages and the best ways to beat them.”

Heading into spring practice McDougald said that his ability to read coverages has been his biggest area of improvement in the last year.

The Aunt

One thing McDougald loved to do before he came to Kansas was cook. While his schedule is pretty busy as a student-athlete, he is looking forward to resuming his time in the kitchen when he moves out of the dorms.

“My aunt (Evalyn Webster) taught me to cook fried chicken and I thought that was really fun,” McDougald said. “I haven’t cooked a lot since I have been here. I don’t have much time to cook. I can see myself cooking a lot when I move off campus.”

The Person

McDougald describes himself as two different people, one persona on the field and a different one off the field.

“On the field I like to be wound up,” he said. “I like the feeling when adrenaline is flowing through you. Off the field, I like to clown around and joke around a lot.”

His attitude and ability make McDougald an asset to the Kansas football program.