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Player of the Decade: Bradley Mickey was the ultimate weapon at Arroyo Grande High
Player of the Decade

Player of the Decade: Bradley Mickey was the ultimate weapon at Arroyo Grande High

Bradley Mickey led Arroyo Grande in receiving yards in 2015. 

He also led the Eagles in rushing yards. And total touchdowns.

While doing all that on offense, Mickey was also working on defense. He led his team in interceptions and was third in tackles that year as the Eagles went 11-2, won a league championship and made the CIF semifinals.

Mickey would be named the All-Area MVP that year as well. 

But Mickey wasn't a one-hit wonder. That was pretty much a typical season for the current Cal Poly defensive back. 

Mickey was a dynamic play-maker all over the field all three varsity seasons he competed for the Eagles. It's no wonder they went 29-8 during his career there and he was offered a spot at Cal Poly once it ended.

Mickey is the sixth nominee for Player of the Decade. The list of nominees was compiled by the sports staff at the Santa Maria Times, Lompoc Record and Santa Ynez Valley News, who polled area coaches. Players from Northern Santa Barbara County and San Luis Obispo County are eligible. 

Mickey finished his career at AGHS with 1,244 rushing yards on 132 carries (9.4 avg.) with 15 rushing touchdowns. He had 908 yards on 87 carries with 13 touchdowns as a senior. 

He also topped 1,000 career receiving yards, hauling in 82 passes for 1,106 yards and nine scores during his career. He racked up 3,484 all-purpose yards in 37 career games.

Those career numbers likely would've landed Mickey on this list of Player of the Decade nominees. 

But, again, Mickey was even better as a defender.

During his three-year varsity career, Mickey intercepted a total of 21 passes. He picked off five as a sophomore, added 10 as a junior and capped his career with a six-piece as a senior. He returned five of those interceptions for touchdowns. He also had a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown. 

In all, Mickey broke up 38 total passes in those three seasons. 

He scored 30 touchdowns during his prep career and amassed over 700 yards on punt and interception returns alone.

"I just don't want to fail," Mickey said in 2015. "Somewhere in the back of my mind I'm thinking, 'Someone else is working hard to take my spot.' Just knowing I have a weakness — I don't want to have any, so I try to get better." 

Mickey's individual numbers never told his story. Having a two-way player lead by example was invaluable to former Eagles coach Tom Goossen, who once said it was "impossible" to appreciate what Mickey meant to the team.

"He brings intensity and passion that permeates to the rest of the team," Goossen said after Mickey was named All-Area MVP in 2015. "He brought an unwillingness to give anything but his best. He refused to accept anything but the best he could be at any particular time."

At Cal Poly, Mickey red-shirted in 2016 and played in four games in 2017. He played in eight games in 2018 and 11 games in 2019, finally breaking into the rotation on defense. He has 32 career tackles with the Mustangs and one interception. He is slated to be a senior defensive back this fall.

The rest of the Player of the Decade nominees will be released in the coming weeks. Mickey joins the previous nominees, Arroyo Grande grad Seth Jacobs, former Lompoc High standouts Lavon Coleman and Ainuu Taua, former Santa Maria quarterback Blake Truhitte and former Santa Ynez receiver Gabe Prendergast. Once all the nominees have been announced, readers will have the opportunity to vote for Player of the Decade.

Taua, who graduated from Lompoc High in 2014 and played defensive line and fullback at UCLA, is our second nominee for Player of the Decade. The sports staff at the Santa Maria Times, Lompoc Record and Santa Ynez Valley News polled area coaches for nominees and will allow readers to vote for Player of the Decade after all the nominees have been announced. Arroyo Grande's Seth Jacobs, the first nominee, was announced last week.

We are on a quest to find the Player of the Decade for 2010-2019. We will be publishing profiles on 10 nominees for the honor over the new few weeks. Then we'll ask you, our readers, to vote for the Player of the Decade. The first nominee up is Arroyo Grande's Seth Jacobs. He played quarterback, running back, receiver, tight end, safety and linebacker with the Eagles before eventually earning a starting linebacker spot at Oklahoma State. 

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Related to this story

Pioneer Valley seniors Lauren Carandang and Christian Morin are the 2020 NSBCART Female Athlete of the Year and Joni Gray Heart and Soul Award winners respectively.

Lompoc seniors Ryan Morgan and Amy Bommersbach are the Male Athlete of the Year and Female Scholar Athlete of the Year scholarship winners respectively. Righetti senior Kai Karamitsos earned the Male Scholar Athlete of the Year scholarship.

Nipomo's Nick Kimball is the seventh Player of the Decade nominee. The rest of the Player of the Decade nominees, from Northern Santa Barbara and South San Luis Obispo counties, will be released in the coming weeks. He joins the previous nominees, Arroyo Grande grads Bradley Mickey and Seth Jacobs, former Lompoc High standouts Lavon Coleman and Ainuu Taua, former Santa Maria quarterback Blake Truhitte and former Santa Ynez receiver Gabe Prendergast.

Once all the nominees have been announced, readers will have the opportunity to vote for Player of the Decade.

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