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Courtney Bridget never thought football would take him across the country.

But that's exactly what the sport has done for the senior cornerback from Dunbar.

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Bridget, 6-3, 190 pounds, committed to UNLV last weekend on an official visit to the Las Vegas campus.

"I can't even put it into words how happy I am," Bridget said. "I'll be playing for a program on the rise that was one game away from going to a bowl. They're returning the most starters in the Mountain West conference next year. So I think they have a good shot to win that title. I just went out there and bonded with a couple of the other commitments. It was big and I felt at home."

Photo caption: Bridget (right) intercepts a pass in front of Edmondson's Carroll Washington. Bridget returned the pick 102 yards for a touchdown. (Baltimore Sun photo by Karl Merton Ferron / October 31, 2008)

Bridget, who transferred to Dunbar from Calvert Hall before his senior season, helped the Poets to a 13-1 record and the 1A state championship. He recorded 73 tackles and 10 interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns.

UNLV started recruiting Bridget about two months ago. Rebels defensive line coach Andre Patterson discovered Bridget while watching film of Poets linebacker Horace Miller.

"Coach Patterson asked Horace, 'Who's that No. 2?' Horace, the next day at school, was like, 'Coach Patterson wants to give you a call.' It just happened from there. We stayed in contact. A week later I sent my highlight tape in. A week later Coach called and said they wanted to offer me a scholarship."

Bridget was immediately impressed with Patterson's background. The first-year coach at UNLV spent 10 seasons in the NFL coaching the defensive line. Bridget also liked the direction of the program under head coach Mike Sanford, and the staff's plans for him upon arrival.

"They like me at corner," Bridget said. "They need big, physical corners out west playing the pass [against teams like] Utah, BYU and TCU."

Bridget will suit up for the Baltimore team at Saturday's Maryland Crab Bowl at Towson University's Johnny Unitas Stadium. After officially finishing his high school football career, Bridget will be entirely focused on his future in Las Vegas.

"Everything just fell into place," Bridget said. "Everything happened for a reason. There was a reason I didn't get other IA scholarships. This was the place for me to be at. I'll just go out there and represent Baltimore."

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