SportStars Magazine

NorCal Player Of The Year: Tariq Bracy

Tariq Bracy

No NoCal Player Impacted Both Sides Of The Ball More Than The Milpitas RB/DB Did In 2017 •

For Tariq Bracy, the closing scene of his amazing high school football career at Milpitas High was scripted perfectly.

Bracy and the Trojans earned their first state championship in spectacular fashion, coming from behind for a 45-41 win with a dramatic drive for a late score and then a defensive stop on Southwest-El Centro’s final drive. The running back/cornerback scored on a 70-yard run, a 57-yard punt return and a 35-yard reception, and also on a two-point conversion for his team’s final points in the Division 4-A final. “It was crazy playing in that game,” Bracy said. “My first state title …  I have experienced nothing like that before.”

SportStars NorCal Player of the Year

Add one more achievement for Bracy, who has kept making headlines by signing early to play at Notre Dame: He’s the SportStars NorCal Player of the Year.

Bracy, who finished 2017 with an astounding 2,653 all-purpose yards and 31 touchdowns, relishes the teammate role. It starts with his twin brother, TyRee, the Trojans’ standout quarterback. Furthermore, he’s appreciated the opportunity to work closely with his twin.

“It’s been amazing,” said Tariq Bracy. “He knows what I am thinking and I know what he will be thinking.” TyRee Bracy has yet to decide on a college, but if the twins are at different schools, Tariq promises they will be “in constant communication” about football and life.

 

Tariq BracyTariq finished with 2,042 yards on the ground and another 299 in the air. On defense, he fit the shutdown corner role to a T, making 31 tackles and returning all three of his interceptions for touchdowns.

“I like to compete whether it’s offense, defense, special teams,” he said. “Also, I am ready to take on those roles and I am fortunate that the team trusts me. I enjoy playing in all those facets.”

For the Trojans (14-1), their CIF playoff run ended some recent championship-game frustration. For the Bracys in particular, they had been on the losing side on three successive Central Coast Section championship games, and in NorCal losses in 2015 and 2016. “We came in hungry, so we laid all the marbles out there and we kept staying together as a team,” Bracy said.

Trojans

To get to that state final, the Trojans first exacted some revenge on Campolindo-Moraga. Which had beaten them in the regionals in 2015. This time, it was Bracy going for 312 yards and four scores, collecting an amazing 36 carries as Milpitas won its first NorCal title, taking some of the sting out of a loss the week before to Salinas in the CCS Open Division I title game.

Campolindo coach Kevin Macy said his defense put together a great effort that night, tightening the gaps at the line of scrimmage, despite being smaller. But he witnessed what havoc Bracy could bring.

Leadership

Tariq Bracy“When you thought you had things closed down, all of a sudden Bracy would slip through and do it effortlessly,” Macy said. “Also, they were able to trust running the ball on what normally would be a passing down. He kept extending drives.”

Of Bracy’s many roles and what he contributes on the field, Milpitas coach Kelly King points to one word that says the most: “Leadership.”

Bracy signed in December for Notre Dame, and the Fighting Irish look to utilize Bracy at cornerback, though he hopes to get chances to showcase his game-breaking ability on kick returns. The magnitude of his opportunity is not lost on him.

“It was overwhelming,” said Bracy of his visit to South Bend. “Not that many people my age get that opportunity to play at Notre Dame. To compete in Power 5 football has been a dream of mine since I was playing youth football.”

In Bracy, Notre Dame gets an ultra-quick, well-conditioned athlete with a hearty can-do work ethic. “He’s very durable, he never got injured for us,” said King. “He will work as hard as he can. We’re excited to see him take that next big step and to see where he goes.”

Competitive Spirit

Bracy’s competitive spirit should serve him well at the next level.

“He is a little quiet at times,” King said. “But, as a football player he’s a great competitor. He’s someone who makes everyone around him better.”

And he made believers out of his opponents. “Maybe the best compliment came from our players; they all said he was a classy opponent,” Macy said. “People forget he was also locked-up on our top receiver on defense and held him below his numbers. He did everything.”

Story By MIKE WOOD | Photos By ED OSWALT

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