Instincts help Bradley win defensive honor

Published 3:49 pm Monday, December 11, 2017

For Timothy Bradley, there is nothing like the rush of delivering a big hit and hearing the roar of the Maplesville fans as they come to their feet in amazement.

Delivering moments like that is something that Bradley does on a weekly basis from his linebacker position during football season and is a major reason why he was named the The Clanton Advertiser 2017 Defensive Player of the Year.

“He’s one of those kids that has a knack for getting to the football,” Maplesville head coach Brent Hubbert said. “Some people can just make plays, and he’s one of them.”

Bradley led Chilton County with 96 tackles at the end of the regular season and well over 100 including the playoffs.

It was the second straight season that he finished among the top two tacklers in the county.

During his time at Maplesville, Bradley has played has played at both outside and inside linebacker.

He has found his niche on the inside at the “Will” linebacker spot.

According to Bradley, there is a different approach and mindset required depending on where you line up.

“On the inside it’s all about ‘ironman’ ball,” Bradley said. “Everything is off reaction and it all happens so quick. If you’re weak, it [the position] will show your flaws.”

However, Bradley did much more than just corral ball carriers, as he also led the county with five interceptions.

The combination of physicality and speed allows him to be a fixture within the Maplesville game plan along the line of scrimmage and in coverage.

Leading the county in two major defensive categories is no fluke, and has a lot to do with being in the right position to make a play, sometimes at crucial moments in a game.

The ability to make plays on balls in the air may date back to when he started playing football when he was 8 years old, and did so lined up on the other side of the ball.

That all changed when he made the transition to defense on junior varsity as an eighth grader, which set him on the path to becoming Defensive Player of the Year.

According to Bradley it was a perfect match and a place where he immediately felt comfortable.

“Defense is where my heart is at,” Bradley said. “You get to hit people and they can’t hit you back.”

Bradley is an emotional leader on the field not only for his teammates, but also for the Red Devil fans in the stands.

One of his hits can have nearly the same resonating ovation from the crowd, similar to a scoring play on offense.

“If I feel like we are not getting the energy that we need either from the team or the crowd, I’ll look to get them fired up,” Bradley said. “It’s just what I do.”