Vols add 'baller' in Bruce

In-state talent staying put to be Tennessee Volunteers is becoming increasingly commonplace. Read about this Knoxville-based athlete that decided Big Orange Country is his future home.

The elation is crystal clear in his voice.

Jocquez Bruce tried to describe the feeling as best he could after the Knoxville resident went public with his declaration to play for the Tennessee Volunteers on Tuesday.

"It feels awesome! I'm part of Dream Team '15," Bruce told InsideTennessee.

"I just got off the phone with (Jones)," Bruce said. "He said they offered me as a baller. He said you're not a receiver, you're not a running back or a corner. You're a baller."

The 5-foot-10, 165-pounder's pledge gives Tennessee 13 commits for its 2015 signing class. Bruce joins Dylan Jackson, Jauan Jennings, Jack Jones, Riley Lovingood, Zach Stewart and Jaylond Woods as in-state talents heading to Rocky Top.

Bruce is also the second declaration for the Big Orange this June as Scout three-star quarterback Quinten Dormady made his decision to be a Vol known on June 9.

After clocking a laser-timed 40-yard dash at a camp at Tennessee on Saturday, Bruce got the one scholarship offer he said he sought for several months. Since then, it was only a matter of time before he joined the commitment list.

"I couldn't even sleep," Bruce said of his time between Saturday and Tuesday. "My momma, she couldn't stop crying. She's the only family I got and she couldn't stop crying."

Bruce says he and his mother live roughly 7 minutes from the Tennessee campus. Being so close to The Hill excites him.

"It means a lot," he said. "I'm putting on for my city. I've got to show out for my city."

Not knowing what position a prospect projects to play on the Southeastern Conference level could put a damper on things for a few players. Not Bruce: "I'm fine with that."

Clark Duncan is the Tennessee commit's coach at South-Doyle. Duncan was a Vols letterman at defensive back 1977-78 and 1980.

"I just got off the phone with him," Bruce said. "He said, ‘You didn't have no choice. You weren't going to go anywhere besides Tennessee.'"

Duncan thinks rather highly of his do-it-all rising senior, telling IT last fall that Bruce is the "hardest working individual that I've ever coached over my 32 years."

As a local son staying home to don the orange and white, tremendous pressure will be placed on Bruce with Tennessee being a program that recruits all over the country for premium talent.

"I was born for pressure. I live to play in clutch moments. That's what I live for," he said.

As a junior, the Cherokee star earned a spot on the Tennessee Sports Writers Association Class 5A All-State team. Bruce ran for school records of 1,936 yards and 28 touchdowns.

South-Doyle won their first TSSAA state playoff game in 2013, beating Tennessee High 41-14 in the opening round of the 5A bracket. Bruce accounted for 224 yards of offense and five touchdowns.

Discuss Bruce's commitment 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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