Rumors surfaced Friday that Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who has been mentioned all season as a potential No. 1 overall pick, is thinking about staying in school for his senior season. But NFL Media senior draft analyst Gil Brandt said he would be shocked if Bridgewater returned.
A tweet from former NFL scout John Middlekauff on Friday afternoon raised the possibility of Bridgewater staying at Louisville.
Told same 2 days ago by someone I trust. Would be shocked MT @JohnMiddlekauff: Sources: Bridgewater has contemplated returning to schoolâ Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) December 13, 2013
Bridgewater (6-foot-3, 205 pounds) has not said definitively whether he is turning pro. There could be as many as five teams drafting in the top 10 that potentially could select a quarterback, and if Bridgewater remains in school, that would thin the ranks of available signal-callers.
This season, Bridgewater has thrown for 3,523 yards, 28 touchdowns and four interceptions, and completed 70.2 percent of his passes. His completion percentage is second nationally among quarterbacks who qualify.
Two other NFL Media draft analysts, Charles Davis and Daniel Jeremiah, think highly of Bridgewater but wonder if he will be drafted earlier than he should.
Bridgewater has led Louisville to an 11-1 record and a Russell Athletic Bowl appearance against Miami on Dec. 28. He entered the season as a prime Heisman candidate, and early in the season Louisville was a potential dark-horse national-title contender, but he and the Cardinals became a national afterthought after losing to UCF on Oct. 18.
Bridgewater threw for 300 yards just once in his final five games and went through a three-game stretch against AAC opponents in which he threw just two TD passes. Critics seized on that as proof he was a bit overhyped. But Louisville's offensive line wasn't as good as expected, and Bridgewater faced more pressure than he did last season. It didn't help that Louisville's rushing attack was a slight disappointment, too, putting more pressure on Bridgewater and a banged-up receiving corps.
Bridgewater is a Miami native who originally committed to the Hurricanes before reneging and signing with Louisville. His Miami roots are an added storyline for the bowl game. Hurricanes senior quarterback Stephen Morris also is a Miami native.
"Teddy's a great quarterback," Morris told The Associated Press earlier this week. "It'd be a great challenge. ... A lot of people would focus on that, two quarterbacks from Miami going at it."
Mike Huguenin can be reached at email@example.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.