Miami added another big commitment to its 2016 recruiting class Tuesday night, securing a pledge from speedy wide receiver Sam Bruce, who plays his high school ball at nearby St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Bruce announced his decision on the AutoNation Sports Report radio show on 560 WQAM, according to J.T. Wilcox of South Florida High School Sports—the co-host of the show where Bruce made his announcement.
"It made sense in a lot of areas," said Bruce. "Its close to home, so my family can come watch me play every game."
Bruce is a 4-star prospect on the 247Sports composite rankings, but he skews closer to a 5-star than he does to his technical designation. He checks in as the No. 48 overall player and No. 6 overall receiver in the country, and the No. 5 overall prospect in the state of Florida.
Standing only 5'8" and weighing just 160 pounds, Bruce projects logically to the slot at the next level. He has neither the size nor the physical doggedness (a la NFL superstar Steve Smith) to line up on the outside consistently.
But in the slot, Bruce is a menace. He is a Tavon Austin-like burner with speed and agility to spare. Let him free in space, and you're flirting with disaster. He can find even the smallest pocket in the defense, and he can turn that pocket into six points from anywhere.
Oh, and he's also the nephew of former St. Louis Rams wide receiver Isaac Bruce—a lock for the NFL Hall of Fame if there ever was one.
No wonder he makes defenders look so silly:
Look how bad Sam Bruce crossed over this poor DB. Isaac Bruce's little nephew. LOL pic.twitter.com/erS0decIJs— SB Nation Recruiting (@SBNRecruiting) March 24, 2014
As recently as June 26, Bruce was considered a near-lock to sign with Florida State, which had 100 percent of the predictions on his 247Sports Crystal Ball. After an unofficial visit to Miami, however, the tide began to turn, and his recruitment become more of a coin flip.
Now he has officially declared his intentions to play for the 'Canes, which is great news for Al Golden's program. Miami's 2016 class also includes 4-star receiver Dionte Mullins from Guliver Prep, the No. 85 overall prospect on the 247Sports composite rankings. Together, he and Bruce should combine to form a dangerous pair.
Bruce also gives the Hurricanes a valuable recruiter in the South Florida area for the rest of this cycle. His teammate at St. Thomas Aquinas, 2015 running back Jordan Scarlett, committed to Miami during Nike's "The Opening" Tuesday evening, and Bruce thinks a Fort Lauderdale exodus to Coral Gables could mean big things.
Per Matt Porter of the Palm Beach Post:
Sam Bruce: "If all the guys from Fort Lauderdale down go to the University of Miami, there's no reason we can't win a national title."— Matt Porter (@mattyports) July 9, 2014
Bruce plays the same relative position as incoming freshman Braxton Berrios, who, despite being only a 3-star recruit on the composite rankings, is one of the most explosive players in the incoming class.
If Berrios does well in his first two years with the Hurricanes, it means Bruce will have a solid, experienced mentor at the college level. If Berrios doesn't do so well in his first two seasons, it means Bruce will serve as an insurance option and have a chance to play right away.
At the very least, this signing gives Miami a buffer at the slot receiver. Idealistically, it gives Miami so much more than that. Either way, the addition of Bruce pumped the 'Canes up to No. 1 in the country on the 247Sports team rankings for 2016.
It's early, sure, but doesn't that have a nice ring to it?
Follow Brian Leigh on Twitter @BLeighDAT