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Boomer Bio: Brody Eldridge
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Redshirt-freshman works his way into OU offense
Growing up in La Cygne, Kansas, all Brody Eldridge wanted to do was play college football some day. A Big 12 program would be great, and an Oklahoma or Texas or even Kansas State would be icing on the cake.
Eldridge put himself in position to realize his dreams during a solid prep career, but if it wasnâ€™t for good timing on the part of the Sooner coaching staff, the 6-foot-5, 248-pound bruiser might have might be living that dream a little north of Norman at Oklahoma State.
â€śOSU was recruiting me pretty hard,â€ť said Eldridge. â€śI wanted to play, and they had a spot for me. It was later that I came to OU on an unofficial visit. And after that, the coaching staff got in contact with me about playing at OU. I talked to them for awhile and they were phenomenal.
â€śEverything felt so comfortable, and it made the decision to come here pretty easy.â€ť
Since arriving, the redshirt-freshman has seen his role increase dramatically. Eldridge, who normally works at tight end, was moved to fullback after starter Matt Clapp suffered an injury. His ability to make the transition in such a short span of time has been a major plus.
â€ś(Brody) has basically only been back there for a month,â€ť said offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson. â€śItâ€™s not an easy thing to do, and heâ€™s done everything we have asked of him. Brodyâ€™s ability to learn that position and the assignments that go along with it has been tremendous. Heâ€™s been a great addition to our run game and a big reason why we have been successful.â€ť
Eldridge has done a solid job filling in, but with his inexperience, learning continues to be essential.
â€śIt was tough in the beginning, after making the switch,â€ť Eldridge said. â€śI was a little hesitant, but I never doubted myself. Learning all the assignments in a week was very hectic. I can improve, and thatâ€™s what I try to do in practice and in film sessions â€” always seeing where I can be better.â€ť
Eldridge said even though it was difficult early on, he is gradually becoming accustomed to his new spot on the field.
â€śIn high school, I was always a receiver. But I made several position changes on defense throughout high school. My freshman year, I made the varsity team as a linebacker. The next year I was playing free safety. I finished up my career as a defensive linemen,â€ť said Eldridge. â€śI think making all those moves to different positions helped me adapt to the move to fullback.â€ť
What Eldridge missed as a defensive player in high school, he now gets to make up for as a fullback, playing a little smash-mouth football.
â€śAs a tight end, you are running routes or blocking. You do a little of both,â€ť he said. â€śI like making receptions. Itâ€™s always nice to have the ball in your hands. But thereâ€™s nothing like making contact with a guy and driving him back five yards. It can really pump you up. Fortunately, reading those blocks have been come pretty easy.â€ť
Eldridge said his enjoyment of hitting players stems from family gatherings.
â€śAnytime our family got together, weâ€™d play football. I was pretty much the youngest, so I was always going up against my cousins who were older. I think those experiences made me a tougher,â€ť he explained. â€śI learned to handle being pushed around by bigger and stronger guys. I didnâ€™t like it, but it helped.â€ť
Not surprisingly, his family has become big time supporters now that he is playing Division-I football. And their support has been incredibly strong.
â€śMan, there are anywhere from 15-20 people in my family who will show up to a game. They have been awesome, showing up and giving me support. And itâ€™s been great that Iâ€™ve been fortunate enough to get out on the field and play in front of them. Thatâ€™s the best part of it all,â€ť he said.
In reality, the best part may be that the OU coaching staff first thought enough of Eldridge to bring him to Oklahoma, and then had enough faith in him to believe he could handle the position switch on short notice.
â€śGuys like him, those are they guys you need on your team if you want to win,â€ť Wilson added. â€śHeâ€™s a good, solid athletic player who wasnâ€™t a big time recruit. Sometimes you get those highly-regarded recruits and for whatever reason it just doesnâ€™t work out. Brody has come in, and worked incredibly hard and thereâ€™s no doubt it is showing to this point. Heâ€™s a team player, for sure.â€ť