When it comes to confidence, Sam Bruce has it by the truck load. The 5-8, 180-pound St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale) wide receiver compared himself to Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who many would argue is the NFL’s best receiver right now.
“He brings a lot of excitement to the game and a lot of energy, I try to do that too,” Bruce told USA TODAY High School Sports.
Come January, the four-star receiver will be bringing that excitement to the Under-Armour All-America Game. Bruce was honored with his game jersey on Tuesday as part of the Selection Tour presented by American Family Insurance.
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“The Under Armour game is the best of the best for players around the country, and that’s why I chose it,” Bruce said. “It definitely shows my hard work has paid off.”
Bruce was originally supposed to join St. Thomas Aquinas teammate Joey Bosa on Monday for a joint presentation, but missed the ceremony after missing his flight home to Florida after vising Ohio State this past weekend.
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This caused quite a stir, seeing as Bruce is committed to the Miami Hurricanes.
Bruce committed to Miami (Fla.), citing the program’s history and his desire to bring them back to being a national powerhouse every year.
“I can’t do it alone, I’m gonna have to have big times players join me to bring that championship tradition back to Miami,” said Bruce, adding that he’s 60-65 percent committed to Miami.
The other 35-40 percent is still open-minded when it comes to other schools, especially Ohio State, where his friend, St. Thomas Aquinas and Under Armour All-American teammate Joey Bosa is committed.
“(Joey’s) been a great friend since the ninth grade and he’s definitely pushing me to go to Ohio State, and it’s a great opportunity,” Bruce said. “But it’s something I need to think out.”
Bruce added that he feels pressure to stay in-state, saying “My city feels that I’m supposed to be a hometown hero and I definitely feel I can fill that spot. At the same time, other schools grab my attention.”
“But like I said only time will tell.”
That time will be on National Signing Day, and according to Bruce, he and his friends have something up their sleeves as far as his decision goes.
“Oh you know it’s gonna be original!” Bruce said laughing.
Now, if a wide receiver with the last name of “Bruce” sounds familiar, you’re most likely thinking about his uncle, Isaac, who was selected to four Pro Bowls, is fourth all-time with 15,208 receiving yards and was the leading receiver for the St. Louis Ram’s when they were referred to as “The Greatest Show on Turf.”
“People hold me to a high standard because he’s my uncle, but those barriers are about to be broken,” Bruce said.
And there’s that confidence again.
“He’s nowhere near the athletic level that I am now,” Bruce said with laughter again. “I’m faster, I’m bigger, I’m smarter, I’m quicker than he was, but I have to say he did some exceptional things at the collegiate level and in the NFL. I’m looking forward to accomplishing what he did.”
If Isaac was “The Greatest Show on Turf,” Sam says he’ll be the “Even Greater Show on Turf.”
Don’t be too quick to judge and confuse his confidence with cockiness. The swagger that flows from Bruce comes from a good place, a motivated place.
“So many younger guys look up to me and it’d be a disappointment to not be successful and show the kids in this area that there’s more than drugs and gangs,” Bruce said. “I’m trying to use football to show them that you can make something positive out of nothing.”
“It’s not about what you see, it’s what you do.”
His skills might have put him in consideration, but it’s his mindset and character that makes Sam Bruce an All-American.