Bradley Archer is coming to Indiana to play several roles.
The tight end is graduate transferring from Stanford for his final year of eligibility. He’s more of a blocking-oriented tight end, with just four career receptions with the Cardinal. He brings a more battle-tested blocking foundation to the position than, perhaps, IU’s other tight ends have.
But perhaps more than that, he’s bringing needed experience and leadership to the Indiana tight end room. Before adding Archer, the Hoosiers had just one other upperclassman tight end — Trey Walker, a walk-on who’s played in just seven games in the last two seasons. Archer made appearances during all four seasons at Stanford, and he played in 11 of the team’s 12 games in his junior and senior years.
Part of what IU head coach Tom Allen and tight ends coach Kevin Wright told Archer is that they wanted a veteran with experience both to contribute this year and as a leader for the young group. And Archer feels he fits that role well.
“At Stanford — we had a leadership council, each position group had a representative. I was voted by the team both my junior and senior season, to be part of that group. So I think I have some experience with just being a mentor slash leadership role. I’m not a big, loud, voicey leader, I’m more of a lead by example guy. But I think just with my experience the last few years I think that brings something to the table.”
Archer left Stanford looking for a something new.
The tight end has lived on the west coast for his entire life, as a Livermore, California native who went on to play at Stanford. He had no ill will towards the Cardinal — he liked the school and enjoyed his time with the program. But he wanted to try playing elsewhere for his last year and experience a new football atmosphere.
Part of his decision was academically driven, as well. Archer is pursuing an MBA, and he said it’s hard to do that at Stanford, especially for football players. Indiana’s Kelley School of Business was part of what appealed to him about Bloomington, along with IU’s coaching staff, and the general vibe of the city.
“The feel, it’s a lot different than California. The feel around the campus and the town is something I was looking for. The town is just beautiful,” Archer said. “Academically, I’ve known that Indiana and the Kelley School of Business was a good fit for me. Coaching-wise, coach Allen and coach Wright, they sealed the deal because they genuinely cared about me and my family, and what my decision was. And most importantly, there’s a genuine desire to succeed from them.”
Archer is a coach’s son. His father, Matt, was the junior varsity coach at Livermore High. So Matt never coached Bradley in high school, because Bradley went straight to varsity. But Matt was always around, and was sometimes still on the sideline for Bradley’s high school games. He found it helpful to have his dad so involved with his football career.
That career has not always been at tight end. While some tight ends move over from wide receiver when they get bigger, Archer moved over from playing offensive and defensive line. He started playing football at eight years old, and played on the lines until he got to high school.
“I was a fat little chubby kid,” Archer said, “so I was too big to touch the ball.”
Archer played baseball for a long time as well, through his senior year of high school. He played first base and pitched for Livermore. But he realized early in his high school career that football was the brighter path for him.
Coming to the midwest after so long in California, Archer knows there could be a little culture shock. Pac-12 football and Big Ten football are different.
But he sees more ways he can fit in and things to look forward to.
“The Big Ten is arguably the best conference in the country. It’s a huge tight end-heavy conference, so I’m excited to be a part of that and compete with the guys there. I’ve talked to a few of them already and they seem like great guys, so I’m excited to be there. I’m excited to play in some big games, too. Ohio State, week one, I can’t wait for that.”
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