"When he went to visit Louisville and he committed then on signing day, he signed because that's where he was sure he was going," Neely-be'y said. "He had some teammates that were also going to Louisville, so there were four of them that had signed a letter of intent to go to Louisville. Then, until about three weeks ago, he was going to Louisville until I got a call from BYU. Paul Tidwell told me they had heard about him. I have no idea how they heard about him, but they said they were interested in him."
In the past, Neely-be'y spoke to her son about the possibility of playing at BYU. She thought the school and the environment was more suitable for her son. BYU did not recruit Bradley out of high school, however. It may not have even mattered if the Cougars had shown interest in Bradley because the speedy defensive back had reservations about the Provo school.
"He was very adamant about not going to BYU from the start," said Neely-be'y. "According to him, he felt he wouldn't feel comfortable there. I guess being a minority and knowing that BYU is a hard place to get into and he's not an "A" student, but he worked really hard to graduate. I think he felt he might not be able to do it out there. I just told him that he has to ask Heavenly Father and sometimes He will build the road for you to go down that you hadn't thought about traveling. You just have to leave yourself open to His will and have faith. I think he knows it's the right thing to do but he was just a little nervous about it. I think he's going to love it out there. He had said prior to that he would not go to BYU. I had asked him before just kind of feeling him out if he would like to go to BYU because that's where I wanted him to go."
As Bradley got closer to coming home from Sao Paulo, Neely-be'y revisited the idea of her son playing at BYU. However, there had still been no scholarship offer extended.
"I am quite sure the Lord had a hand in this," said Neely-be'y. "I know He did. It was my thought that it was getting close for him to be coming home from his mission and that maybe BYU was a better place for him to be. It's a great education which is most important, and he would be out there with people who have the same standards. That's what I thought so I kind of mentioned it to Heavenly Father that if he could go to BYU it would be great."
It was not soon after her heart-felt supplication that she got a surprise phone call.
"Out of the blue here comes this call from BYU," Neely-be'y said. "It just kind of blew me away and I thought he was kidding me. I know Heavenly Father knows what He is doing and I know He had a hand in it. I know He opened the door for him and I know He even touched his heart for him to decide he would go to BYU because he said no that he was not going to go to BYU and that was out. So after I talked to Paul [Tidwell] I told him that I don't know if [Bradley] is interested. He's been kind of adamant about not going to BYU in the past."
Stunned by the situation, Neely-be'y sent her son an email to see if he would be interested in possibly going to BYU. She waited anxiously for her son's reply.
"I get to email him once a week which is on Wednesday and I told him that BYU was interested in him, and I asked him how he would feel about possibly going to BYU," said Neely-be'y. "He emailed me back and said, ‘You know mom when you first asked me I was sure I wasn't going to go to BYU, but now maybe I need to pray about it.' I told him that, ‘Maybe you do,' and he did and emailed me that following Saturday and said that he had been thinking about it. He said that it was really heavily on his mind, and that maybe he would think about giving BYU a try."
Elder Bradley did not know that BYU had offered him a full ride scholarship to play football. That means that when he first considered the Cougars, he was considering the possibility of forgoing his scholarship to Louisville and walking on at BYU.
"At that time he didn't know they had offered him a scholarship," said Neely-be'y. "I couldn't tell him until the next Wednesday, and so the following Wednesday I emailed him and I said they are offering you a scholarship. They hadn't seen any film on him but they were offering him a scholarship. Coach Mendenhall said it felt right and so they made the offer. I told him about it and told him he needs to make a decision because they wanted to know whether or not they should give the scholarship to someone else. He decided that he would go to BYU."
Neely-be'y is in a state of disbelief over what occurred to her son. To her it is a direct answer to prayer.
"I'm still kind of pinching myself here," chuckled Neely-be'y. "Just the thought that Heavenly Father heard a mother's prayer about this because, you know, Louisville isn't a bad school and they were willing to let him go on his mission, but now he has a chance to be around people more like him with the same morals and standards. I told him he has to be humble and by being obedient that Heavenly Father will reward him for that, and now he has a scholarship to play football at BYU. They faxed him the financial agreement to him and have him sign it and fax it back to BYU hopefully by next Wednesday, but I don't know because I can't communicate with him until then to find out what's going on."
Bradley started playing football at an early age. The beginning of his football experience was a bit rocky.
"When he was about ten or so, he broke his leg playing football in the front yard, but he did not complain about it," Neely-be'y said. "I just happened to notice he was wincing and asked him what was wrong. He told me his leg was hurting and so I took him to the emergency room and they told me had broken it in two places. He came back from that pretty well though."
Prior to high school, Bradley played on and off for various city league football teams. At Lincoln High School, Bradley had much success as a wide receiver and special teams player during both his sophomore and junior years on the Junior Varsity team. As a senior, he started as a cornerback and special teams player.
"In high school he wanted to play on the junior varsity team, and I told him he was going to go out there and do his best and give it all he's got," Neely-be'y said. "And if not then don't even start because I'm not going to follow you around if you're not interested in what you are doing. I think that was all it took because he kind of came into his own. He was a wide receiver for the junior varsity team and I think it was either his first or second year on junior varsity that I think they went onto the city championship.
"He played wide receiver when he played on Junior Varsity but when he got to Varsity that's when they put him at cornerback. He also played free safety and he was on the special teams during his junior year. He was also on special teams his senior year and started on special teams and cornerback."
Bradley will finish serving his mission to Brazil on March 2nd of this year and will enroll at BYU in time for fall practice.