Sitting between his parents and grandparents, Arroyo Grande football star Bradley Mickey signed his National Letter of Intent with Cal Poly in the Arroyo Grande High School gym Wednesday.
A lifelong resident of the Central Coast, Mickey had dreamed of playing football at Cal Poly, but until recently, he wasn’t sure it was going to happen.
The 5-foot-11, 175-pound Mickey wasn’t heavily recruited because of his size and speed (4.65 40-yard dash), despite a high school career that included 21 interceptions and 31 touchdowns. Mickey visited San Diego State, but no official offers were extended until Cal Poly came calling last month.
“We need to be more instinctive and ready to take the risk of going to make a play,” Cal Poly head coach Tim Walsh said Wednesday of the Mustang’s defense last season. “This young man, all he does, he makes plays.”
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Mickey — who excelled as a defensive back, running back and wide receiver at Arroyo Grande last season — accepted the partial scholarship offer from Cal Poly and is expected to play in the defensive backfield. He took an official visit of the Cal Poly facilities at the end of January.
“I’m just really excited to be surrounded by those types of guys, and I know that they are going to bring out the best in me, and it’s going to be really competitive,” Mickey said. “I’m really looking forward to it.”
Mickey, who was named to the 2015 Cal-Hi Sports all-state football third team, said an added bonus will be staying home. His girlfriend will also attend Cal Poly and his parents, Larry and Cyndi Mickey, grandparents and other immediate family members are close by.
“It makes life easy when you know so many people are there to back you up and will be there to support you when you need it,” Mickey said.
When Mickey begins his transition to FCS football in the summer, he said his top priority will be to putting on muscle. Mickey is also looking forward to getting to know his teammates and learning the playbook. As for football instincts, those come standard.
“The things that really stood out for (local coaches) and the things that they raved about, was his big playmaking ability as well as his leadership skills,” Cal Poly second-year secondary coach Jacob Yoro said. “As we started evaluating him more — we got to work with him in camp this summer — and then able to see him at a game this fall. The one thing that really stood out to me about Bradley is: He made the game look easy. He looks like he’s not playing very hard, but he’s consistently dominating his opponents, consistently making big plays.”
Cal Poly made strengthening its secondary a top priority on signing day. Last season, Cal Poly gave up more than 287 passing yards per game, but the Mustangs signed four more defensive backs in addition to Mickey on Wednesday: Levi Crump (Lincoln), Jayson Lee (Clovis North), Daniel Fox (Westlake) and Dominic Frasch (Bakersfield College).
“It is exciting knowing that we brought in a lot of great players, and it will be fun competing against them every day and working side-by-side with them,” Mickey said.
Mickey is still focusing on school and the basketball season for now, but said is ready for the move to San Luis Obispo.
“It’s going to be fun, this upcoming part of my life,” Mickey said.
Paso Robles student-athletes sign NLIs
Paso Robles students Chloe Kerns and Natalia Marcove also signed their National Letters of Intent on Wednesday at Paso Robles High.
Kerns signed to play softball at the University of Connecticut. The senior was selected to The Tribune First-Team All-County for softball as a junior after finishing with a .479 batting average. Kerns was also a team captain on the volleyball team.
“Chloe comes from a talented travel ball program that simply breeds hitters. She is going to be a force behind the plate for us and potentially on one of the corners,” Huskies coach Jen McIntyre said in a press release from the school. “Offensively, I anticipate she will be a big run producer and add much-needed power to the lineup.”
Marcove, a goalkeeper on the Bearcats soccer team, officially accepted a full scholarship offer to play at Campbell University, a private school in North Carolina. Marcove was named to the All-PAC 8 team her first three years and was the PAC 8 Goalkeeper of the Year in 2014 and 2015.