“This is a great honor for our program, especially considering where we’ve come from in the last several years,” declared Bear head coach Damon Floyd. “We currently have 10 guys playing college ball in the last three years. To have three sign at once is something special.”
Putting their “John Hancock” on the dotted line at the school’s library Wednesday were quarterback Brett Standifer, wide receiver/defensive back Dee Crisp and linebacker Jordan Timmons.
Standifer will be heading to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to play for Stillman College, while Crisp is joining a bevy of former teammates on the Tusculum College roster and Timmons is going to The Bluegrass State to play for Lindsey Wilson.
Bear wide receiver Cal Pickel and linebacker Eduardo Trevino are still considering offers from Carson-Newman and Tusculum respectively.
“I’m proud of these guys,” Coach Floyd proclaimed. “They have all worked really hard to become better players, plus they are good students and good young men as well.”
After throwing for more than 3,000 yards in three seasons as the starting signal caller at Soddy-Daisy, Standifer transferred to Bradley a little over a year ago and had the best gridiron campaign of his career directing the Bear offense last fall.
Standifer completed 58 percent (170-of-295) of his passes, throwing for 2,247 yards and 20 touchdowns as the Bears advanced to the TSSAA playoffs for the fourth straight year. The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder was also second on the team in rushing with 419 yards on 134 carries, finding the end zone seven times.
“The guys really welcomed me here. I felt like I really made great strides as a player and a student,” commented Standifer, who has a 3.7 GPA and will graduate with honors in May.
“He fit in well with the team and was immediately accepted by the team,” Coach Floyd stated. “He has a strong work ethic and went to several camps to get better. He will do well on the next level.”
“I’m excited about getting to play for Stillman,” Standifer said. “They only have one other quarterback currently on the roster, so I hope to be able to make an immediate impact,” he added. “I’m possibly going to go into coaching some day and Tuscaloosa is a great football town, with a lot of very knowledgeable football people. The Stillman campus is less than a mile from the University of Alabama.”
Stillman is a NCAA Division II school that competes in the 12-team Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC). The conference includes Tuskegee, Albany State, Benedict, Claflin, Clark Atlanta, Fort Valley State, Kentucky State, Lane, LeMoyne-Owen, Miles, Morehouse, and Paine. The Tigers are coming off a 6-5 season.
“Stillman offers everything I’m interested in and has a 15-to-1 teacher to student ratio, so that attracted me as well,” Standifer related.
At 6-foot-2, 180 pounds with a lot of speed and tremendous leaping ability, Crisp was a dangerous threat on offense, as well as a shutdown cover man on defense.
“The (Tusculum) coaches aren’t 100 percent which side of the ball I’ll play on, but right now they are leaning toward defense,” Crisp explained. “I used to really want to do mainly offense, but now I like defense as well, so I’ll gladly play either one or both, if needed.”
The past two seasons for the Bears, Crisp has pulled in 87 passes for 1,383 yards and 17 touchdowns on offense, plus on the other side of the ball has made 86 tackles, copped five interceptions, including one he returned for a “pick 6,” plus he caused a pair of fumbles and broke up 14 passes.
“Dee’s best days are ahead of him,” declared Coach Floyd. “He has been playing multiple sports here and when he is able to concentrate on just one, he will get even better.”
Crisp also plays basketball and runs track at BCHS.
“He has a lot of natural athletic ability. We used him in several different positions, but being able to focus on just one means the sky’s the limit for him,” the Bear coach assessed. “His offensive talent is obvious, and he has really come on strong defensively as well. He is a very smart player (another 3.7 GPA student) and has a great break on the ball. We usually had him covering the other team’s best receiver, and he’d shut them down.”
At Tusculum, Crisp will be joining former Bradley standouts Justin Houston, who earned NCAA Division II All-American honors this past season, plus Tucker Bolton, Patrick Benson and DJ King on the Pioneer roster.
“I have heard nothing negative (about the Tusculum program) from my former teammates and I really like the fact that the campus is all together, so I can walk wherever I need to go,” Crisp related. “Greeneville (the town where Tusculum is located) reminds me a lot of Cleveland. It’s real homey.”
Tusculum is a member of the South Atlantic Conference, along with Carson-Newman, Anderson, Brevard, Catawba, Coker, Lenoir-Rhyne, Lincoln Memorial, Mars Hill, Newberry, Queens and Wingate.
A 6-foot, 200-pound linebacker, Timmons has been a leader for the Bradley defense the past two seasons, combining for 177 tackles, seven takeaways (three caused fumbles and four recoveries), 21.5 tackles for loss, seven QB hurries and three sacks. He also broke up three passes.
“Up until his junior year, he wanted to play baseball in college, but then he really fell in love with the game (football),” Coach Floyd remarked. “He has really worked hard and he loves to hit people.
“He has really battled through adversity to stay on the field,” the coach added. “He’s the type that is really hard to get off the field. He has played with broken bones and one game was throwing up between plays, but wouldn’t come out of the game.”
“This shows miracles do happen, because I didn’t think I was going to get the chance to continue playing, and now I have,” Timmons said Wednesday. “It’s really a good feeling to get this chance.”
“It’s a small town (Columbia, Ky.) and a small school, but I really liked the coaches up there and the facilities,” commented Timmons, who carries a 3.6 GPA and hopes to study toward an engineering degree. “They were 8-3 last year and had 14 players make all-conference, so it’s a good program.”
Lindsey Wilson is an NAIA school that plays in the Mid-South Conference along with Georgetown, Cumberlands (Ky.), Cumberland (Tenn.), Campbellsville, Shawnee State, Rio Grande, St. Catherines, Bluefield and Pikeville.
Timmons will have one familiar face on the Blue Raider squad as former Bear teammate Rue Goldston has enrolled this semester in anticipation of playing next fall.
“It has meant a lot to me to be a Bear, and the coaches have really helped push me to become a better player and person. They have really gotten me ready for the college level,” Timmons stated.
The Bradley trio was three of four locals to make their decisions final on National Signing Day, joining Polk County’s Zach Miller, who is heading to Carson-Newman.