By: Erika Fernandez | WCTV Eyewitness News
January 23, 2018
WAKULLA CO., Fla. (WCTV) -- Ten years ago, Nigel Bradham told WCTV that as a competitor, he works hard, no matter what. Now, he’s proven that by taking his talents to the biggest stage in football.
On Sunday, Bradham clinched a spot in Super Bowl LII with the Philadelphia Eagles. His hometown of Crawfordville is celebrating the win right along with him.
"His work ethic was unbelievable. He is where he is because of his work ethic," said Scott Klees, Bradham’s former coach at Wakulla High School.
Klees coached Nigel 10 years ago. He said he knew he was a star the moment Bradham stepped on the field.
"When you look at him, you say, 'Man he has a chance to be pretty good'. He was head and shoulders taller than everybody," Klees said.
Klees fought to have Nigel on his varsity team, but Bradham's mother wasn’t ready to see her youngest son taking hits from the older guys.
"I said, you're not going to shine, they won’t let you play so you need to go to JV and play on JV, that way you'll continue to start. And he was like, no, mom I want to play," said Rose Rucker, Nigel’s mother.
Nigel racked up dozens of awards and recognitions while at Wakulla before taking his talents to Florida State.
“He basically planned his destiny. He told me he was going to play in the All-American bowl, he did that. He said he was going to play at FSU, and that's what he did. So now he's definitely fulfilling his dream. He always said he wanted to at least play in a Super Bowl game," Rucker said.
After playing two seasons in with the Buffalo Bills, Nigel moved on to Philly with the Eagles. His mom said the win last Sunday was a special one.
"I could just hear it in his voice. He was like, crying on the inside. We lost my mom in September and she was one of his biggest fans. After she passed, he said the rest of his games were going to be dedicated to his grandmamma," Rucker said.
A win like this is being celebrated by everyone in Crawfordville; not just for the Philadelphia Eagles, but the Wakulla War Eagles as well.
"We’re going to have a 'Home of Nigel Bradham, Super Bowl LII Champ' sign,” Klees said.
Coach Klees said Bradham is the first player from Wakulla to play in the NFL.