Feature photo courtesy of Noah Homberg.
Brady Breeze, from Lake Oswego, Oregon, “happens” to play football. He “happens” to play safety, and he “happens” to have committed to the University of Oregon. All of this is a huge deal for his family, though none of it was unexpected.
“My whole family has just kind of been a football family since day one,” Breeze said.
His family is no stranger to the University of Oregon either. “My mom went [to Oregon], my brother went there, my uncle played there, my aunt ran track,” he rattled off.
“I still go [to the University of Oregon] for two or three games a year, so to be able to watch [Breeze] carry on our family tradition there and play in the same position as me, too, is just really exciting,” Breeze’s uncle, Chad Cota said. “His style of play reminds me of how I used to play.” Cota also played at Oregon and in the NFL for eight years.
Breeze has been a Ducks fan his whole life, but that’s not the only reason he committed to this school.
“[The coaches] definitely try to make it feel like a family environment. They make you feel special,” Breeze said. “Coach [Mark] Helfrich is always supportive of his players; he’s never yelling at anybody. He’s trying to get his players all excited during the game.”
This past July, Breeze represented Oregon at Nike’s The Opening, to which the top 100 players in the country are invited, according to Jordan Johnson, a regional scout and recruiting coordinator in the Northwest region. Breeze credits Johnson with helping him get to where he is today.
“Our Team Oregon group…made it to the final four out of 120 teams and lost to [the] high school who won the national championship,” Johnson said. “We train the top athletes in Oregon and Washington and Brady’s probably the best player in the state.”
Breeze was also named Semper Fi All-American and will be playing in that game in January.
It’s not just skill that makes Brady such a great player, according to Cota. “He brings a lot of passion, a lot of enthusiasm for the game of football. He’s a kid that loves playing the game too,” Cota said.
“We’re kind of jokesters,” Breeze says of his current teammates. “We make sure that we stay focused obviously, but we just [try] to make practice as fun as possible, because if you’re not having fun, why play the game?”
His goal for the rest of the year is “just to know that I gave all my effort and become closer with my teammates,” as well as improving individually.
Johnson says Breeze is “the all-American kid–not even referencing football.”
“Between his academics, church, [and] being the team captain, you never have to worry about what Brady’s doing off the field,” Johnson said. “He’s a guy that makes good decisions and, regardless of who the person is, he treats people how he would want to be treated.”
Breeze’s physicality is probably his strongest area, Cota said.
“He plays more physical-style game, he can come up and when he hits people, they move, so that’s really through his game.”
Practices for Breeze’s team are intense. They’re usually fast-paced, with as many plays as possible to make it similar to a real game.
“You’re not allowed to jog, you’re not allowed to walk anywhere,” he said.
He practices before school, too–as early as 5:30 a.m. with a Strongman workout. “Everyone in there lifts as hard as they can and they’re there…to get something done,” Breeze says. Strongman isn’t mandatory, and nor is it exclusively for athletes, but he likes it because people tend to have more of a purpose for being there.
And all of his hard work pays off, in that he’s gotten “bigger, faster, stronger” throughout the last couple of years, according to Cota. Though Breeze was recruited as a safety, he has also played quarterback, running back and can play nearly any offensive position.
“The thing with Brady is he’s a high-profile kid … and yet he gets to every single practice, event, tournament, he doesn’t miss anything,” Johnson said. “He does not rest on his high profile status and that is why I think he’s going to be really successful in the PAC-12 and looking far, far ahead, I think he’s definitely a potential NFL safety some day.”
Cota said he feels very proud of his nephew and the individual that he’s become. “Football’s been in our family for years. It’s a great deal,” he said. “It teaches kids and youth how to overcome adversity and just how to be a part of a team.”
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