Memphis Mourns Taylor Bradford, Plays On

Leon WynnAnalyst IOctober 2, 2007

IconThe Memphis Tigers will play the Marshal Thundering Herd tonight despite the loss of Junior nose guard Taylor Bradford.

Bradford was shot while driving home on Sunday night, approximately three hours after the Tigers wrapped-up their practice.

His car crashed into a tree after he was shot and police found his body slumped over when they responded to the crash.

"Our entire football team is deeply saddened by the loss of Taylor," Memphis head coach Tommy West said. "He was well respected and a popular member of our team."

The news came as a shock to all and Police are still unable to determine whether this was a random shooting or if Bradford was specifically targeted. There is no evidence that Bradford was involved in any illegal activities.

The 5-foot-11, 300-pound defensive lineman was a junior who transferred to Memphis last year after two seasons at Samford University. Bradford recently lost 25 pounds with the hope of earning playing time by switching to fullback.

On Monday, Memphis players unanimously voted to play Marshall and dedicate this game to their lost teammate. Marshall, a program that knows all too well how to deal with tragic circumstances, is also dedicating the game to Taylor Bradford.

This is a C-USA East match-up for two teams that have been overlooked by most due to their combined 1-7 record. A win tonight can help turn around either teams' seasons.

This is especially true for Memphis—if the Tigers win the majority of their remaining games, they have a shot at claiming the C-USA East title.

A moment of silence will be observed before the game tonight, which will air on ESPN2 at 8 p.m.

(AP Photo/Univ. of Memphis)