They had a plan, they stuck to it and now, they are about to get the payoff. Josh Bradley and Antonio Taylor, both Brunswick residents and standout players with the Glynn County Revolution semipro football team, have drawn the attention of college coaches and are headed off to fulfill their dreams.
Bradley has earned a full scholarship to play football at Savannah State, and Taylor has already enrolled at Valdosta State University and will begin practicing with the Blazers next week as a preferred walk-on with a chance to earn a scholarship. Both student-athletes are graduates of Brunswick High and both were instrumental in the Revolution’s very successful 2010 season that saw them advance to their league’s championship game.
“Besides being great character guys, they’re (both) two big talents,” said Revolution coach and owner Jeffrey Waters, who led the team to a 10-3 record this past season, just their second in existence. “They’re just team guys and will do anything. They’re very talented.” Toiling at defensive end, middle linebacker and at tight end for the Revolution, Bradley, who stands 6-foot-3 and weighs in at 235 pounds, said Savannah State is looking at him at all three of those positions. He said Revolution defensive coordinator Shawn Brown was the guiding force behind him being seen by the Tigers coaching staff.
“Coach Brown told them about me and they came (to scout),” Bradley said of Savannah State. “Then, I went to Savannah State and took them some game tapes. Coach Brown told people about me and it went from there.”
Waters said Bradley, who played his freshman year for the Pirates but never suited up for the varsity, is a great success story he hopes other Revolution players can use as motivation. “Josh went to Brunswick High but didn’t play ball," Waters said. "I met him playing sandlot football on Sunday afternoons. He was a good kid who could play, and we got him on the team.
"Now he's getting a full ride to Savannah State."
A quarterback for former coach Maurice Freeman at Brunswick High, the 6-1, 215-pound Taylor played multiple positions for the Revolution and grew into an offensive force for the high-scoring team.
"Antonio played quarterback, tight end, safety -- he did a little bit of everything for us," said Waters, who along with outside sponsors, takes care of the Revolution's expenditures, thus maintaining his players' amateur status.
"He'll probably end up being a tight end for them, which is where we used him the most. He would come across the middle of that field and there weren't many linebackers who could run with him and they didn't like tackling him. He runs angry."
Like Bradley, Taylor said he likely would not have gotten noticed had it not been for his Revolution coaches.
"They had a scout come out and watch after coach (Waters) contacted him," Taylor said. "At first, I was kind of shaky on it. (I felt) like they're not going to bring (players from a semipro team) in like that. But I stayed in contact with (Valdosta State defensive coach Joe Cauthen) and my coach did, too, and basically sold me to them. I talked to coach Cauthen, too, and things started to fall in place."
Waters said he never dreamed he would be able to get players placed in college so soon in the Revolution's existence, although that was a long-range plan of his when he put the team together in 2009.
"We just hoped when we started this that we'd be able to do something like this, but we sure didn't think it would happen this quick," Waters said. "These guys are our frontiersman -- they can either pave the way for a bunch of guys or they can put up roadblocks. And I think we have the right guys to go and be frontiersman because their character is so high.
"I think they're going to do us proud and maybe open the doors for a lot of other young guys."
Bradley said he always had a dream of playing football somewhere. He said his official acceptance should arrive in the mail any day. His report date to Tigers camp is August 4.
"I was hoping it would happen. That was my prayer," Bradley said. "Right now, I'm taking it in stride and playing hard, just trying to get another chance to play again."
Both student-athletes will be transferring from College of Coastal Georgia and enter their new schools as freshmen with four years of athletic eligibility intact. Bradley is studying business administration, while Taylor is studying health and physical education.
But getting on the football field is their major course of study at present.
"That's why I work hard every day," Taylor said of fulfilling his dream. "Before practice, I'm in the gym. After practice, I go run or go back to the gym. I've been working for this. As long as I'm on the field. I love the game that much."
Savannah State, which competes in the Division I Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, opens its season Sept. 4 at Georgia Southern.
The Blazers of Valdosta State, which play in Division II's Gulf South Conference, open that same day at home versus Wingate.