In His Own Words: Justin Bright

The Bootleg's Football Editor Daniel Novinson spoke with three-star South Carolina safety Justin Bright, a current Florida State commit. Bright likes the Seminoles, but is taking an official visit this weekend to see Stanford. He has plenty to say about each of his top schools, his senior year and what he's looking for in a college. The Bootleg presents Justin Bright in his own words.

In His Own Words: Justin Bright

On Stanford: 

"I sent in the application and they still haven't told me whether I was accepted or not. But really, I'm just looking forward to the official visit, seeing how it is out there and getting a chance to meet the defensive coaches in person. Coach [Clayton] White, I know a lot. He was here this past Monday and three other times before that. Coach Harbaugh came two or three weeks ago. They came out to see me a lot and really like me a lot, so I want to check it out and see what's out there." 

"I talk to guys that are committed already, like [DT] Terrence Stephens and [WR] Jamal Patterson and they tell me about Stanford. The academics are really good and I just want to see what they have out there. Coach Harbaugh has been good to me and called me a lot. He's real cool. He's a good coach and comes from a good family of coaches. He's changing the program. I like Coach White a lot."

On his Stanford application: 

"I'm pretty sure I'll get accepted because I spent a lot of time on the essays. I was going to try to retake the ACTs, but wasn't able to work out the logistics. I'm really interested in the official visit. That'll be the biggest thing, making sure I'm comfortable."

On whether he's considering any other schools: 

"No. Other schools, I just kind of told them, 'No, thank you.' I've got two really good choices."

On his scholarship offers: 

"Florida State was my first, then Texas A&M and Virginia. Vanderbilt was a verbal, never official because they found out I committed to Florida State. A lot of schools did that when I committed to Florida State; four or five schools were going to offer but never did. Stanford offered at the end of the summer, after I committed. But then it was probably a month or two before I talked to anyone from Stanford."

On his senior year: 

"We [James F Byrnes High School] won States for the second year in a row, and six out of the past seven years. We were ranked No. 1 in nation by USA Today the first nine weeks of the season, but then we played Dorman, a really good team. We got beat 35-28 when we didn't play well at all, and dropped to No. 12 or 13. We ended up playing them again in the third round of the playoffs. They have a lot of good players, Dorman, and 20,000 people were there. But we got our revenge and beat them."

"We ended up last year No. 7 or 8 in the nation, and this year we were No. 8. A lot of people don't understand South Carolina's a pretty big football state. People are starting to see it now with a lot of the high schoolers high up in the rankings now. I finished with about 120 tackles and three interceptions. I had an interception in each of the first three games and returned one for a touchdown. I was on a hot streak, but it went downhill."

"No one threw it much our way and we played a lot of teams that ran ball. I had three sacks; I'm proud of those three sacks. I also caught 10 to 15 passes too. I was First Team All-State and went to the South Carolina vs. North Carolina All-Star Game. We played on ESPN once and national TV two other times. We played Pahokee (Fla.) and Lincoln, Tallahassee (Fla.).

On his strengths as a player:

" I used to play quarterback when I was younger. I moved from a school down the street because Byrnes was such a good opportunity I couldn't pass it up. So I came here as a quarterback and learned a lot about offense and that helped me a lot on D; I use that to help me out. I have good anticipation of what the offense is going to do. I just love playing football and go hard all the time. You've got to go hard, but you've got to be smart too. Really, I just love playing, and if you love playing, you're going to work hard and do whatever it takes to win. I love winning. I hate losing too. That's my motivator there. I just love the game of football."

On his most memorable football moment: 

"A.J. Green, the No. 2 recruit in the nation last year, went to Georgia. He and Julio Jones were the two highest-rated 2008 freshmen. I knocked [Green] out of the State Championship game. I think it's on my highlight tape. It's my best one moment I can brag about. You say 'A.J. Green,' people say, 'Ooh.' "

On his future plans: 

"I'm going to do business, something like work with an insurance company. But I'm always open to whatever's on the rise, whatever the need is. I just want to find the new thing: cars, maybe something like that."

On his academics: 

"On the SAT, I have an 1100 for the critical reading plus the math. My ACT was just a 21. My GPA, on the Stanford scale it's a 3.3, and on the regular high school scale it's a 4.1. Coach Harbaugh says they weigh honors classes and all that differently because the academics are so good."

On his academic interest: 

"I like school. It's something you need to be successful later in life. Talking to Coach Harbaugh, it was kind of a concern: Stanford's like a Harvard, will it be kind of too challenging? But he said there are tutors and the student-teacher ratio is 7:1 and it'd be tough, but if you work, it's something you're capable of. I think it'd be fun to be around people that aren't going to make fun of you for reading a book. Walking to class here, I hear 'Dude, you read?' 'Yeah.' There, your classmates are future CEOs of companies; it doesn't hurt to have connections.

On Florida State: 

"It was my first offer. I've always been a Clemson fan, so I like the ACC and I always liked Florida State when they weren't playing Clemson. They've always had a good D, and the coordinator, Coach [Mickey] Andrews is a really good guy. He's been there for 28 seasons after this year and FSU is known for having a good D. If you're looking for a big football program, that's Florida State. Coach Fisher and Coach Bowden: everyone kids me about it, but I think they'll be there two or three more years, and I know Coach [Jumbo] Fisher is the head coach in waiting. And he was at LSU when Nick Saban won the National Championship. And Coach [Chuck] Amato is the linebacker coach. There's a lot of head coaches there, a lot of really good coaches." 

"Terrell Buckley, an NFL player and a FSU alum, he's one of the strength coaches for the skill guys and does a lot of speed stuff for us. I always kid around with people, Florida's down there in nice weather and Stanford's on the other side of the country in nice weather. Neither is far from the beach. You can't beat that."

On S Myron Rolle winning the Rhodes Scholarship: 

"Mickey Andrews talked about Myron Rolle, bragged about him. I know he's leaving and going to go pro or do the Rhodes Scholarship. It's just something Myron said, that you can go anywhere for school and get a good education; it's just up to how hard you work and what you learn, and I think that's true. Myron's a good role model to look up to. He's a team leader. He's a special person. He's very smart, athletic, a gifted person and a humble one too. It's what happens when you're truly blessed."

Stay tuned to The Bootleg for all the latest on Justin Bright!


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