|The File On|
CHOSE WSU OVER:
DID YOU KNOW?
Bruce, who received his bachelor's degree in early December, is back in Pullman after spending most of the winter in California, where his agent oversaw preparations for the NFL Combine in February.
"The scouts like my body type, but want me to run faster," said Bruce, who has added 15 pounds of muscle to his 6-foot-6 ½ frame since the Apple Cup and now tips the scales at 270. "I'm not going to run a 4.5, but hopefully my game film will speak for itself – I'm a football player."
A week before the combine, Bruce was in the hospital with a stomach virus and his numbers in Indianapolis reflected the loss in weight and energy. Some pundits subsequently lowered his draft projection from between the fourth-and-seventh rounds down to free agent status.
He rebounded well at the Pro Day in Pullman on March 8, when scouts from a dozen NFL teams put 10 Cougar seniors through the paces.
Though performance stats weren't shared, sources near the action said Bruce ran the 40 in 4.9 seconds –- slower than his goal of 4.7 but dramatically better than his 5.1 at the combine. He also was reported to have turned in an 8-foot-11-inch broad jump -- five inches better than his mark at Indy. And his 33-inch vertical jump was four inches better than his combine effort.
NFL scouts and coaches he talked with at the combine and at the East-West Shrine Game had seen his game films. "That's a good sign," Bruce said. He noted that almost everyone brought up last season's game at Stanford, in which Bruce posted a record five sacks. "They all laughed when they mentioned it –- they wanted to know if anybody was actually assigned to block me."
Bruce, a product of Liberty High in Renton, will return to his old stomping grounds April 13 for a private workout with the Seahawks. "I grew up rooting for the Seahawks, so it's a real honor to be invited over," he said.
The next several weeks will be notable for Bruce. Whether drafted or through free agency, he'll be headed to an NFL camp. His fiancé Evelyn will be graduating from WSU with a degree in interior design. And their son, Mkristo Jr., will celebrate his second birthday.
Bruce said he hasn't paid attention to the speculation about where he'll end up. "I'm staying focused on getting faster and quicker. I'll just wait and see. Where God wants me to go, I'll go."
A RARE QUIET MOMENT FOR TWO-TIME ALL-PAC-10 DEFENSIVE END MKRISTO BRUCE.