Playing both tight end and defensive end for Pepperell High School in Lindale, Ga., the 6-9, 250-pound, 4.6 Bruce brings the dimensions of size and speed to the Tigers that they continually look for when scouring the high school ranks for future Tigers. Bruce told Inside the Auburn Tigers that chose the Tigers over Tennessee, Alabama, Clemson, Kentucky, Georgia Tech and many other schools.
Growing up attending Georgia football games with his father, Bruce said he never really considered himself a fan of any team until he visited Auburn this past weekend for the Tigers' contest against Ole Miss. After visiting during the summer for a team passing camp, Bruce said he likes the players, coaches and the atmosphere around the Auburn program. After making his second trip to AU, he said the decision to become a Tigers was a done deal.
"It's kind of weird," he said of making his decision so early. "The whole time I've been saying, "I don't want to commit, I want to take all my visits' and then I went to Auburn before the season started and met all the coaches. I was thinking, ‘Man, this place is nice.'.I would go to other colleges, but Auburn always stuck in my mind. Then I went to the game and I came back and talked to my parents and my sister and everybody. I told them ‘this was where I want to go' so I'm going to go ahead and commit."
A three-year starter at tight end and two-year starter at defensive end for Pepperell, Bruce brings many things to the table as a tight end. In this day and age of spread offenses and receiving tight ends, Bruce gives a team many options when he's on the field as a receiver.
"His overall size is a strength," assistant coach Steve Horne said. "For a big kid he can run. Probably 4.6 is being a little bit conservative. We've actually timed him a little bit faster than that. He's got great speed and great feet. He's a big kid that can run and he plays hard. He's a good kid. He comes from a real good family. He's got a three-point something grade point average and is already a full qualifier. He's a good Christian kid that goes to church. He's just a real good kid.
"He lines up outside, too, as a wide receiver. He's an integral part of the passing game. We use a four wide receiver offensive scheme at times and he does go out and run all the routes just like all the other receivers. He's a primary target most of the time."
Auburn has a strong Fellowship of Christian Athletes program under the direction of team chaplain Chette Williams. That had something to do with Bruce's decision to attend Auburn. "The Christian atmosphere they have and the family atmosphere with the players and coaches," was Bruce's response when asked why he choose the Tigers.
"Lorenzo Diamond and Robert Johnson and all of them came up and talked to me and introduced me to all of the players.," Bruce says of his visit to the Ole Miss at Auburn game. "That is when I decided that is where I would want to go to college and be happy."
Not surprisingly because of his size, Bruce is also a standout on the basketball court as he will start for the fourth season this winter for Pepperell. What is surprising is that Bruce played one year of baseball as a freshman and also competed in the 110 high hurdles on the track team, recording a 16-plus second time, good enough for fourth place at the region meet.
A solid student with a 3.5 GPA and a 20 on the ACT, Bruce should have no problems qualifying. Auburn's four other verbals from high school seniors are from 6-4 ½, 217 safety Kevin Sears from Russellville High School, center William Ward, a 6-2, 250 pound center from Prattville High School and linebackers Kevis Burnam, 6-2, 230 pounds from Macon County High in Montezuma, Ga., and Oliver King, 6-2, 215 pounds from North Surry High in Mount Airy, N.C.