Bruce: 'I about cried when he offered me'

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Jocquez Bruce admitted it was one of the best moments of his life.

The Volunteer State native did enough during a summer workout to pick up an offer from Tennessee, fulfilling a lifelong dream.

"I don't even know what to say, man," Bruce told InsideTennessee. "I about cried when he offered me to be honest. It's really a blessing because I prayed, I prayed, I prayed. I've been waiting seven months for this, and I finally got it. So, I'm really happy."

How the South-Doyle High School two-way talent received the offer from Tennessee head coach Butch Jones while on The Hill came as a surprise.

"I went in coach Butch's office and we started talking about my life and stuff and my childhood. Then, he asked me, he said, ‘Do you think you have what it takes to play in the SEC?' I said, ‘yes.' He said, ‘Why do you think that?' I said, ‘I just have a lot of confidence in myself and I try to be the best I can be at whatever I do.' It looked like he didn't like my answer at first so I was like, ‘Aw man, I just made him mad.' Then he said, ‘All right, I'll talk to you later.' Then, he got up and shook my hand and said, ‘By the way, you just earned yourself a scholarship to the University of Tennessee.' The biggest smile came over my face. I felt relief; it was awesome."

The orange and white lifestyle has been a part of Bruce's upbringing for as long as he can remember.

"I used to sell tickets outside the stadium with my step-daddy," Bruce said. "I was about 5 (when saw first home Tennessee game). I grew up with orange in my blood.

"I love the community around there. The fans, they love the players. I just love it. I grew up with it. I just love it."

A scholarship doesn't mean a guaranteed verbal commitment to Tennessee.

"I don't even know if I want to commit yet. I just want to let it sink in. I think I'm going to wait a little bit. I'm just going to focus on my team and winning a state championship," he said.

South-Doyle coach Clark Duncan played his college football at Tennessee and told Bruce he'd prefer if his stud wound up on Rocky Top: "If it's up to me (Duncan) and coach Graham, think orange," Bruce said.

The Knoxville resident competed at several positions at Saturday's camp on Rocky Top.

"I think I performed well," the 5-foot-10, 165-pounder said. "I didn't perform my best at my normal position at running back. Then, they went over and told me to play a little DB. While I was doing that, they like what they seen. I had nice footwork and stuff. Then, they tried me out at slot receiver and that's when I really caught their eye. They like my ability to make people miss and my quickness and my hands and stuff. They said I'm the type of player they like at Tennessee."

Tennessee coaches could use the playmaker in a variety of ways, most likely in similar fashion to how West Virginia utilized Tavon Austin with jet motion and bubble screens.

"I'm kind of upset that I'm not going to be with coach (Robert) Gillespie because that's my position running back but I don't care," said Bruce, who clocked his fastest 40-yard dash time ever in the 4.5 range. "I got a scholarship to the University of Tennessee. I'll play anywhere. I'll play on the line."

Cincinnati, Memphis and Middle Tennessee are other schools of interest but the Volunteers forged in front today.

Plans to see other college campuses are not in the works as Bruce talked about the expenses of the unofficial visits. He carries a 2.8 grade point average and scored an 18 on the ACT. He hopes to major in physical training.


Discuss Bruce's getting a Big Orange offer with InsideTennessee analysts and subscribers by clicking here.


Danny Parker is currently the Managing Editor, Recruiting Analyst and Staff Photographer for InsideTennessee.com. He was previously the sports editor at Shelbyville Times-Gazette. He joined the Scout team July 2011.
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