WVU Football: Isaiah Bruce Making an Immediate Impact for Mountaineers

Amit BatraCorrespondent IIISeptember 12, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 01:  Isaiah Bruce #31 of the West Virginia Mountaineers celebrates after returning a fumble for a touchdown in the third quarter against the Marshall Thundering Herd during the game on September 1, 2012 at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

For redshirt freshman linebacker Isaiah Bruce, the moment was surreal. 

Making his Mountaineer debut against Marshall, Bruce would lead the team in tackles and woo the West Virginia crowd after a 43-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown. 

What a debut, no?

Bruce would have a total of 16 tackles on the day.  This includes a stop for loss.  His efforts were good enough to get him Big 12 Conference Player of the Week honors. 

The linebacker's intensity was consistent throughout all four quarters on Sept. 1.  His size and athleticism allowed him to make plays. 

Out of Bruce's 16 tackles, seven were solo.  His third-quarter touchdown added a sense of urgency for the Mountaineer defense from that point. 

Bruce is a smart player who is capable of this type of game due to his quickness and athleticism. 

What attracted the 6'1" linebacker to WVU was Jeff Casteel's 3-3-5 scheme when Casteel was defensive coordinator for the Mountaineers.  While West Virginia has a new style of defense, Bruce shined in the first game of the season.

Bruce had to redshirt last season due to unforeseen circumstances, but he used training camp and the offseason to tweak his conditioning and athleticism.

Out of all the debut players (freshmen, redshirts) for West Virginia, Bruce has the capability to make the most impact. 

As a four-year starter for his high school team in Jacksonville, Florida, Bruce was able to lead his team to a state and regional championship.

Bruce was able to gain some weight after coming into his freshman year at 205 pounds. 

While it was just one game, the resilient linebacker made an immediate impact. 

Mountaineer fans have been used to yelling "Bruuuuce" for a different player, but the chant just may stick around for a little while longer.