Bridges makes history, signs early for Oregon

Published 9:18 pm Wednesday, December 19, 2018

LANETT — Trikweze Bridge’s signing on Wednesday morning was deeper than football.

The 6-foot-3 senior safety had a stage full of family members when he inked his letter of intent to play football at the University of Oregon next fall.

“It’s a blessing because not many people have this many people all behind them, pushing them to be successful,” Bridges said. “It’s a blessing to have my family here, and this isn’t all of them.”

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The ceremony was the first time Lanett has held an early signing event for a student-athlete, according to Lanett head football coach Clifford Story, Jr. 

“It feels good,” Bridges said. “I know that I can’t play high school football anymore, so if I can represent my school at the school I’m going to, then I’m going to keep doing that. I love Lanett, and Lanett has done a lot for me. It feels good to represent Lanett in Oregon.”

Bridges picked Oregon over Alabama, Florida and Georgia. The comfort with the school’s personnel is what swayed him to go west, he said.

“Oregon’s like Lanett because it’s family up there,” Bridges said. “The coaches, the players, the environment, it’s just phenomenal. When I’m up there, I see people as siblings. The players, they’re my brothers. Some of the coaches, I call my uncles.”

Bridges’ teammates and Lanett’s coaching staff sat in a section of the school’s auditorium to offer support of the 18-year-old who they watched evolve over the last four years. After Story introduced Bridges by listing his accomplishments, highlighted by tying the state career record for interceptions and setting the state record for career pick-sixes, and Bridges signed his paperwork, a few of his coaches offered the four-star prospect some words of advice.

“All I want you to do, Trikweze, is go and stay,” Lanett defensive coordinator Charlie Williams said. “Don’t come back home. Ain’t nothing here. Go and stay. Be an example for the rest of these young men who want to leave here, and come back when you want to, not because you have to.”

Lanett football assistant coach E.J. Webb then reminisced on all of the offseason days that he saw Bridges working out on the hill, completing agility drills to become a better player.

“Whatever you do, keep God first,” Webb said. “Everything else will fall into place. I know that you can get to the next level. You have to put it in your body, in your heart that you want to get there. I appreciate the opportunity [to coach you]. Good luck.”

Bridges dawned a tailored black suit and a black dress shirt to go with his Lanett gold tie to the event, while the majority of his family members surrounded him in Oregon lime green and yellow on stage. He took multiple pictures with his family members before answering questions from the media, before going back to take more pictures with his friends and teammates on stage.

Bridges will remain at Lanett next semester, and he plans to finish the basketball season for the Panthers to help the boys program chase a fourth-consecutive state championship. Oregon is slated to open the 2019 season against Auburn at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Aug. 31.