Cornell’s mother was one of more than a dozen player parents, friends and community supporters — including Maynard’s mother, Tasha Harmon — who joined Bradley in a show of support as he was interviewed during this past season by the Star Tribune. Though Harmon said it was family considerations that steered Maynard’s transfer to Chanhassen, Bradley “introduced us to the different [football] camps” and has “been a blessing to our family.”
Maynard, an all-Missota Conference selection this fall, recently was offered a scholarship to the University of Northern Iowa.
But some top high school coaches view Bradley as a confusing addition to the high school football scene. Cretin-Derham Hall coach Mike Scanlan declined to discuss Bradley, saying only that “I am aware of him, and really have nothing to say.”
Chanhassen coach Bill Rosburg also declined to talk publicly of Bradley, or how Maynard ended up on his team. Chanhassen athletic director Austin Tollerson said that after learning Bradley was standing on the Storm’s sideline during a game this fall, he told him he was barred from doing so in the future unless he was authorized.
“Our coaches [were] not happy he was down there, distracting a couple of our players,” Tollerson said.
Tollerson added that “it wasn’t too clear” what Bradley’s role was, but that Bradley vaguely told him he was helping a few Chanhassen players with “support outside the school.”
Such “outside” support is part of an emerging recruiting world that runs parallel — but separate — to traditional high school football: One in which players travel to corporate-sponsored summer camps and spend the offseason in intense training, as opposed to one focused only on fall Friday nights and homecoming games.
Bradley has emerged because of the “inability” of high schools “to fulfill this gap,” said Ted Johnson, a local professional trainer who owns Performance Athletix and has trained NFL wide receivers Michael Floyd (Cretin-Derham Hall) and Larry Fitzgerald Jr. (Holy Angels).
Bradley also gets a glowing review from Jon Ragnow, the father of Frank Ragnow, a 6-6, 300 pound offensive lineman from Chanhassen who was named to this year’s Star Tribune All-Metro team. “He’s with Unsigned Preps, great guy,” Jon Ragnow wrote in an e-mail. Jon Ragnow, however, did not respond to a request to answer questions regarding Bradley.
“He recommended a couple of [football] camps for us that were really beneficial,” Ragnow wrote.
Michael Hassenauer, the father of J.C. Hassenauer, downplayed his family’s relationship with Bradley. He said he only briefly met Bradley at an Adidas-sponsored football camp in Michigan, and saw him at one other camp in Chicago.
“It was just a quick hello,” said Michael Hassenauer, who said Bradley was at the camps with other high school players from Minnesota.
But in recruiting circles, Bradley’s ties with Hassenauer seemed to be taken for granted.
One Alabama fan website, shortly before Hassenauer verbally committed to the school, featured this posting: “Just spoke to Levi Bradley of Unsigned Preps out of Minnesota. He tells me the center prospect hasn’t committed to Alabama ‘yet.’ Bradley added that an announcement would be coming soon.”
Bradley was with Jones, the Washburn running back and Star Tribune All-Metro team member, and Jones’ father when they visited Eden Prairie High School this past summer. Bradley also said, on an unrelated occasion, he and a recruiter from Texas Christian University met with coach Grant in his office.
Grant said he recalled both episodes, but was not sure who Bradley was or what the visits were about. During the past summer, Grant said Jones “had been interested in some way — in a beginning way, really — of playing out here”, and that Bradley was reportedly “the guy that [was] helping him, or mentoring him.”
A falling out at Washburn
At Unsigned Preps in Tampa, Fla., owner Ricky Sailor said the group had helped 123 high school athletes get $12 million in college scholarships and aid over the past three years. The Unsigned Preps website features pictures of its latest summer bus tour — Bradley said he wants to start a Midwest bus tour — that took 43 high school athletes on a tour of colleges, mostly in the South. While Unsigned Preps was helping players such as Cretin-Derham Hall’s Cornell, said Sailor, “it’s the kid that’s 5-9, 175 pounds that nobody believes in” that the group targets.