Isaiah Bruce, who visited West Virginia last year for its weeknight win over USF, had the Mountaineers near the top of his list of interest throughout the fall and winter. When news of coaching changes came, though, it put the brakes on the process. Making it even more concerning was the fact that his own recruiter, offensive line coach Dave Johnson, was one of those to receive a pink slip during the coaching changeover.
"It was a big concern for me," said Bruce, who took a measured approach to his recruitment, and gathered as much information as possible. "I wanted to confirm who the coaches were going to be, and understand everything about the changes."
In pursuit of that goal, Bruce spoke with defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel, and also, perhaps surprisingly, with Johnson himself.
"Coach Johnson explained to me what had happened, and he still encouraged me to consider West Virginia. That was very important to me," Bruce detailed. "Talking with Coach Casteel, he said there weren't any changes planned for the defense, that they were still going to run the 3-3-5. That was important to me too, because that style of defense really fits me well. It fits the way I play, and that was one of the big reasons that West Virginia was high on my list."
With his mind put at ease, Bruce decided to end the process and commit to West Virginia.
"I didn't talk to any of the new coaches, but Coach Casteel told me about the changes they are going to make on offense, and that the new coordinator is a really cool guy. That helped me make my decision."
Bruce, an athletic linebacker who "loves to blitz" has played both middle and outside spots for Providence High School, and he, along with his future coach, believes he can do the same in college.
"Coach Casteel said that with my ability and style of play, he thinks I can play any of the three positions. I don't really have a preference."
An excellent student, Bruce should have no trouble qualifying. He chose West Virginia over Purdue, which he also visited, and confirmed that he will not take any other visits or prolong the recruiting process.
A selection to the Jacksonville Times-Union Super 24 team, Bruce had 101 tackles and six sacks for the Stallions this season.