Troy University Trojans probably has one of the most underrated centers in college football. After Dylan Bradshaw was named to the Rimington Trophy watch list in late July, he may not be underrated anymore. However, it is human nature for many scouts to have their focus on players from more bigger and more elite schools.
Going into the college 2021 football season, NFL scouts are already focusing on Iowa's center Tyler Linderbaum as being the best center in college football. In fact, the top ranked centers right now all hail from Power Five schools. A power five school is a college that is a school among colleges and universities that belong to the five conferences which are considered to be the highest level and most elite schools in college football such as Alabama, Clemson, FSU, etc...Tyler Linderbaum's school, Iowa, belongs to the Big 10 conference, which is a Power Five conference. For obvious reasons, since the Power Five schools are considered to be the more elite, NFL scouts will most of the time focus their targets on those schools first, where Linderbaum plays for one of those Power Five schools.
The Group of Five college football teams belong to colleges and universities that are not considered as elite as Power Five schools. One of the main differences is that more of your elite football players that are five and four star rankings play for Power Five schools while most three star and under football athletes play for Group of Five schools. Because many Group of Five schools struggle against Power Five schools and many times have mediocre seasons, many great Group of Five football athletes lack media attention and are sometimes overlooked by scouts.
Out of the Group of Five schools, the Troy University Trojans probably has one of the best centers, if not the best in the Sun Belt Conference going into 2021. Dylan Bradshaw is a 6'3" 300 pound center that has been enrolled at Troy University since 2016. During the month of July, Bradshaw, along with 39 other centers in the nation, (two more from the Sun-Belt) were named to the Rimington Trophy watch list. The Rimington Trophy is awarded to the best college football center in the nation for the season.
With Dylan Bradshaw, comes a lot of experience. Hailing from hometown Enterprise, Alabama he started three years at his high school and was named to the ASWA Alabama 7-A All State team after his 2015 high school senior season. He redshirted his freshman year at Troy University in 2016, making 2021 his sixth season as a Troy Trojan football player. Although he saw limited action in 2017, he began to develop into his role as a center in 2018, playing both guard and center. During that 2018 season, he only allowed three pressures and two hurries for the entire season. Remarkably, he only allowed one sack in 349 snaps in 10 games.
For 2019, Bradshaw began to improve on his position role as center. He played 804 snaps at center, allowed only 14 pressures, and for the second consecutive season he had another remarkable stat involving allowed sacks. During the 2019 season he allowed only one sack in 510 pass blocking snaps. For his efforts that season, Pro Football Focus rated him the third best pass blocker on Troy's offensive line and he was named as an honorable mention to the All- Sun Belt Team.
During a Covid-19 Pandemic era 2020 season, Dylan Bradshaw had his best season yet as a center at Troy University. Out of 805 snaps, he only had one penalty recorded to his name. Out of 130 centers in Division One college and universities (Power Five, Group of Five, and Independent), he was one of only 40 centers named to the Rimington Trophy watch list for the upcoming 2021 season due to his 2020 season efforts. When other stats are examined, he becomes more elite than just being in a class of 40. According to Pro Football Focus, Bradshaw had a 98.8 pass block efficiency rating, which ranked him 15th among centers, not just in his Sun Belt Conference, but 15th in the entire nation among all centers in college football. When you look at his overall ratings, he once again becomes yet even more elite. Overall, he had a pass blocking grade of 76.8, which ranked him 9th in the entire nation during the 2020 season. For the season, in 513 pass blocking situations, he allowed only 11 pressures, 10 hurries, and only one sack. By the end of the season, Troy's offensive line was ranked second in the nation for having a 93.0 pass blocking efficiency rating. For Bradshaw's 2020 season efforts, he was named to the All-Sun Belt Second Team. For 2021, Dylan Bradshaw's play is expected only to get better as his play has improved continuously in each season he has played.
In 2020, Dylan Bradshaw played for a Troy team that finished last in their division in the Sun Belt Conference. Many times scouts look at that, or rather scouts choose not to spend a lot of their time and focus on players of teams that are in last place. Last place teams are not attracting media attention that winning teams are. If Dylan Bradshaw was playing for a team like Alabama, Clemson, or any other Power Five school with a decent win/loss record, he would definitely be at the top of the list with Tyler Linderbaum as the nation's top center. And if he was playing for a team like Alabama, Clemson, or Ohio State, he would definitely be in the discussion to be the next Ryan Clark, the last center that was a NFL first round draft pick.
Only the 2021 season will tell what Bradshaw's performance will be like. But if his constant improvement continues on his playing ability as it has in each of the past seasons, Dylan Bradshaw will definitely stand out as one of the nation's best college football centers. And he will then become a name that people will start hearing about. Dylan Bradshaw is definitely a center that NFL teams looking for a center need to focus their attention on. When the 2022 NFL draft arrives, there should be no reason his name isn't called sometime during those draft rounds.