AZTEC — Zane Bradshaw was asked to do a lot for the Aztec football team over the past few seasons.
Despite Bradshaw's size — 5-foot-9, 170 pounds — he was maybe the most versatile player the Tigers had, playing just about every position on the defensive side of the ball other than on the line. That versatility helped him land and accept an offer to play for the Bethany College Swedes next fall with the Aztec senior signing his letter of intent today at Lillywhite Gym.
"I think this last season he ended up playing six or seven different positions on defense," Aztec coach Matthew Steinfeldt said of Bradshaw. "We had him jump from outside linebacker to cornerback to safety. We even had him play at inside linebacker for a game because we knew cerebrally he understands the game and would be in the right spot at the right time."
While Bradshaw's skills on the field got him the chance to play collegiately, his decision to attend BC was based on what the school offers academically.
During his visit to the campus, located in Lindsborg, Kan., Bradshaw got the same treatment as other recruits — staying with current players, touring the campus and the Swedes' athletic facilities — but he also took the time to check out the school's engineering department and meet with one of the professors.
"It was the education first. They have a really great engineering program there, and that's what got me interested," Bradshaw said. "I talked with one of the professors there, and the feel of it was great. That program is going to do a lot for me, and I'm going to get a lot out of it."
The Swedes compete in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference as part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.
The Swedes had a down season in 2016, going 1-10 in head coach Paul Hubbard's second season, and Bradshaw is part of the recruiting class the program is hopeful will help push BC back above .500.
Bradshaw may have been content to attend BC solely for the academics — he plans to major in mechanical engineering — but there was still a desire to continue playing football, and Hubbard and the Swedes' coaching staff sold him on their program.
"Coach Hubbard and that staff, their attitude, what they're preaching, and what that program is about and what they're making it about, I feel like there are a lot of great things to come," Bradshaw said. "I think there are a lot of great things heading their way, and I'd love to be a part of it."
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.