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Sunday, October 13 Sports

Ansonia’s Tajik Bagley has found a home at CCSU

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — With the yards and touchdowns piling up during Tajik Bagley’s memorable run at Ansonia High School, some might have envisioned Bagley following in the footsteps of Alex Thomas and Arkeel Newsome by becoming a dynamic offensive playmaker at the collegiate level.

Bagley, however, had a feeling that a position switch might be in the cards even on the day when he committed to Central Connecticut State.

Now a little more than a month away from his senior season, Bagley is considered to be not only one of the best cover cornerbacks in the Northeast Conference, but also one of the NEC’s best defensive players.

“I was more of an offensive player coming out of high school, but heading to the next level I thought, as well as my high school coaches thought, I would be a better corner at the next level,” Bagley said. “It was one of the best decision of my life.”

Bagley finished second on the Blue Devils with nine pass breakups as a junior to go with 50 tackles and an interception.

He has the attention of opposing offensive coordinators as well.

“He is a great football player, competitive and just a great football player,” Sacred Heart offensive coordinator Matt Gardner said. “It is hard when they take away one side of the field and Central has done a great job the last couple of years and it is always a good game when we play them.”

Bagley has no problem playing either man to man or zone defense, but admits he relishes the challenge of individual matchups with game-breaking receivers.

“I am comfortable being on an island, I typically play boundary on the short side of the field and am pretty comfortable.

“Getting beat humbles you and it wakes you up that you can get beat at any time.”

BACK FOR AN ENCORE

With a degree in his possession and coming off a brilliant 2018 season, nobody would have blamed Sacred Heart running back Jordan Meachum if he headed off to pursue his dream of being an accountant, or tried to play at the Football Bowl Subdivision level as a graduate transfer.

However, Meachum never wavered in his commitment to the Pioneers. He doesn’t know if he’ll top his 2018 numbers of 1,396 rushing yards or 11 touchdowns, but he knows there is no place he would rather wrap up his collegiate career.

“I knew it was the place I wanted to go for grad school as well, I knew I had a bunch of different options for I had to be here,” said Meachum, who is pursuing a graduate degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting.

Before Meachum made an impact on the football field, he was already opening eyes with his work in the classroom and in the community.

“We knew he was going to graduate, we thought he would want to come back and play one more year,” Gardner said. “I think he had such a great year last year and going into it he can be the featured guy. You don’t have to worry about him. He is a great football player, great kid and he is smart enough to do your taxes. He is going to be an accountant at a major firm and when I have any money questions, I call him. He is a great kid.”

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Meachum didn’t have to look far for inspiration when it came to being a top-notch student and ultimately a college graduate.

“My parents went to college for two years and never finished,” Meachum said. “They always instilled in me to have a full college experience and remember that there is more than just football, remember that there is a life afterwards and not to just focus on football. I try my best and hopefully when football is all done, it works out.”

james.fuller

@hearstmediact.com; @NHRJimFulleer

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