After being ruled ineligible to play for the past two seasons, Diante Bridgewater, a defensive back for Grambling State University’s football, expects to hit the field this fall.
Bridgewater’s path to Grambling has been a winding one. Bridgewater was not eligible for the 2017 and 2018 season, but he is now ready to play. A native of New Roads, La., Bridgewater graduated from Livonia High School in May 2015.
The chance to finally see time on the field again is important for Bridgewater who started playing at the age of seven. As a kid his mom did not want him to play football. Bridgewater grew up and lived with his mother and older brother for most of his life. Being a native of a small town, Bridgewater found himself bored. “You had to go to Baton Rouge to do something fun,” Bridgewater said.
One afternoon, his mother was on the phone with his grandmother, Tiffany Johnson. Bridgewater expressed to his mom that ‘Football was his dream’ to which his grandmother replied by saying, “Let that boy play football!”
Bridgewater established himself on early on as a young star at running back winning multiple championships and awards such as Team MVP and League MVP three years straight. Bridgewater later became a member of the varsity football team at Pointe Coupee Central as a seventh-grader as a kick and punt returner.
Bridgewater also participated in track, a participant in the 4×1, 4×2 and 4×4 relays, 200m and 100m dashes.
“I just did it because I’m fast,” Bridgewater said.
Bridgewater’s track coach told him after one performance in the 4×4, “ You clocked 48.5.”
Bridgewater said that was when he discovered he is really athletic and he continued to become better at his craft, which is football.
Originally Bridgewater was going to attend a high school close to his hometown. However, in order to ensure his success, he did not attend. “It was bad school they always had fights they always were on the news,” Bridgewater said.
Bridgewater refused to get involved in bad situations. “I’d always stay to myself,” Bridgewater said.
In ninth grade Bridgewater transferred to Livonia High School where he played cornerback. Even though Bridgewater was this outstanding high school athlete something was stopping him from reaching his goal of playing at a Division I school.
“It wasn’t my grades, It was the ACT,” Bridgewater said.
Bridgewater went on to attend East Mississippi Community College (EMCC) before transferring to Troy University in the fall of 2016.
“I had a big head because I always wanted to go to a big school,” Bridgewater said.
However, Bridgewater faced eligibility problems and decided to transfer again, this time to Grambling. He then realized that he had to come to terms with reality. “I accepted what God gave me and that was another chance to play football,” Bridgewater said.
Now, after a long path of trials and tribulations, Bridgewater says he has big plans for this season. “I’m taking back everything I lost,” Bridgewater said.