(STATS) - The word is out about defensive backs who play at Samford - they're pretty good.
James Bradberry is the latest to be recognized, as the Bulldogs cornerback was invited to participate at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis later this month.
The 6-foot-1, 209-pound Bradberry participated in the Senior Bowl last month and impressed teams, particularly the Philadelphia Eagles. His prototypical size for an NFL cornerback had already drawn scouts' attention in Mobile, Alabama, and a strong week of practice raised his value enough to be the Southern Conference's lone invitee to the combine, where players can further make a name - and potentially a pro future - for themselves.
"Initially, it was kind of surreal. The first practice was GMs, coaches, and scouts all around," Bradberry said about the week leading up to the Senior Bowl. "Once I started playing, I was just trying to let talent and skill take over."
Bradberry is in line to be the second Samford defensive back drafted in as many years. Safety Jaquiski Tartt was selected 46th overall in the second round by the San Francisco 49ers in 2015, the highest pick in Bulldogs history. Tartt started eight of 15 games as a rookie, finishing with 51 tackles, two sacks and an interception.
Defensive coordinator Bill D'Ottavio has produced three NFL-caliber players, with cornerback Corey White (Saints, 2012) and defensive lineman Nick Williams (Steelers, 2013) also being drafted during his nine-year tenure.
"I think he just plays to the strength of his players," Bradberry said regarding his success within D'Ottavio's schemes. "We're getting big corners in Omari Williams ... we're bigger corners, we press a lot and the NFL is going to a phase of press corners, taller corners. And we implemented a defense the Seahawks run, a cover-3 matchup zone and play to our strengths."
Bradberry was a first-team all-Southern Conference selection and a third-team STATS FCS All-American after a senior season in which he had 29 solo tackles and 45 overall. He also had two interceptions, giving him eight in his career.