BERKELEY, Calif. -- A year ago, a diminutive cornerback from Gilbert (Ariz.) Williams Field, who, frankly, looked like he should have been in the kids camp, opened eyes at California’s full-contact camp in Berkeley. At 5-foot-5, 120 pounds, Tre Bugg was slight, indeed.
Since then, Bugg has added five inches and 35 pounds, and while he’s still not the biggest defensive back on the field, he’s still one heck of a pest.
Bugg completely shut down his side of the field during 7-on-7 work at the end of Friday’s session, playing both left and right corner to match up against Moraga (Calif.) Campolindo’s best wide outs. More often than not, he was paired against 6-foot-4, 210-pound Max Flower -- a Cal baseball commit – and twice broke up passes intended for the big outside receiver, while the rest of the time, jamming him at the line and taking him out of plays.
Flower could have been 8-foot-4 or 5-foot-4. It didn’t matter for Bugg.
“No, sir,” he smiled. “Whenever I see somebody that’s bigger than me, I know I have to rely on my technique, and with all my coaches that have helped me along the way, they should get the true praise, because they’ve helped me become who I am.”
Bugg uses his hands very well to disrupt routes and keeps his eyes on the quarterback, deftly anticipating throws. It’s his footwork, though, that’s truly impressive. He has a very polished backpedal, stays low and doesn’t ever get his feet crossed up. He stems well and can flip his hips quickly to advance up field and stay with his receiver. He can turn and go very easily. Bottom line: Bugg makes plays. That’s what the staff has seen in his video, and that’s what he continued to do on Saturday, facing receivers bigger and older than him, and still breaking up passes one-on-one in coverage, and ripping a would-be touchdown out of the hands of an opposing receiver during skeleton work.
“My defensive coordinator and DBs coach at my high school, he has helped me about two or three times per week on footwork, and then, I go to Mark McMillian, who played in the League for eight years,” says Bugg. “He’s a master in footwork. He was 5-8 going into the League, so he knows how important it is. I work with him once a week. In total, I probably work six out of the seven days of the week on my footwork.”
Bugg has gotten attention from the Bears, Stanford, Princeton, Dartmouth and Puget Sound, and has gone to camps at Ohio State and Michigan this summer. As impressive as his football acumen is – turning in six picks last year – Bugg’s biggest numbers come in the classroom.
Bugg has a 4.38 cumulative GPA, a 3.8 core GPA, and last year, turned in semester GPAs of 4.33 and 4.67.
“I like all the sciences and maths,” Bugg says. “I’m more that kind of brain, because I want to be a pediatric surgeon whenever I graduate from college. My dad always says, there’s a life after football, so I’m trying to work to make that life better.”