Sam Bruce committed to Miami more than a year ago, but the 4-star wide receiver is keeping the door open for other college football programs to change his mind.
He shared intentions to utilize upcoming official visits at Auburn, Florida, Florida State and Ohio State this season during a conversation with Luke Stampini of 247Sports.
Bruce, a 5'8", 180-pound senior at Sunshine State powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas High School, is also set to return to Coral Gables for an official visit with the Hurricanes. He pledged to Miami last July, nearly two months shy of his junior season.
Rated fifth nationally among wide receivers in 2016 composite recruiting rankings, Bruce commanded national attention early in his high school career. His list of scholarship offers also includes Alabama, Clemson, Michigan and South Carolina.
He caught 65 passes during the past two campaigns, totaling 1,099 yards and 16 touchdowns. The nephew of former NFL star Isaac Bruce is one of the most scintillating offensive weapons in Florida.
We documented his dynamic skill set during Bleacher Report's CFB Recruiting 200 Series.
His diminutive stature may scare off scouts who put major stock in measurables, but we challenge the doubters to watch this beast go to work. Bruce is a relentless competitor who plucks passes in traffic and manages to gain separation from defenders who typically hold a height advantage. He also excels at an often overlooked quality scouts should always keep a close eye on with receivers—a willingness to aggressively block defenders downfield.
Bruce is the Hurricanes' top-rated recruit in a 2016 class considered top 10 in national composite rankings. Miami remains the front-runner for now, but there is plenty of uncertainty surrounding the future of a program that finished 6-7 last season.
“I’m pretty locked into Miami," he told Stampini. "Just weighing my options."
The inclusion of Ohio State is intriguing, as the Buckeyes are an outlier on his itinerary. He expects to spend time at a trio of in-state schools this fall and Auburn isn't too far of a hike within the region.
Clearly, Columbus presents quite a change of scenery.
Head coach Urban Meyer maintains significant credibility in the Southeast after leading Florida to a pair of national championships. His 2016 and 2017 recruiting hauls already include four Sunshine State products, headlined by 5-star defensive end and St. Thomas Aquinas teammate Nick Bosa.
Bruce plans to attend the Buckeyes' Oct. 17 game against Penn State, per Stampini.
While the defending champs figure to play a prominent role during the remainder of this pursuit, it's Meyer's former squad that catches our attention most.
The new Gators regime is rebuilding an offensive attack that routinely sputtered during recent seasons. Those efforts have already focused on St. Thomas Aquinas twice.
Florida signed 4-star running back Jordan Scarlett last February after he flipped from Miami. St. Thomas Aquinas quarterback Jake Allen, a junior, committed to Florida last month after visiting Florida State, Stanford, Notre Dame and Michigan.
The prized passer instantly made his teammate a paramount priority and accompanied him to Gainesville in late July. He hopes high school classmates Bruce and 5-star 2017 receiver Trevon Grimes join him in a Gators uniform.
"Sam and 'Tre' are both my boys. I'm definitely going to talk to them about becoming Gators," Allen told Bleacher Report. "That's where I need to start getting guys, at my own school. They know I'll be honest with them about the process and they'll be honest with me. It would be huge to play with them both in college."
Florida is the most recent university to host Bruce and will welcome him to campus at least one more time before signing day. The date of his official visit with the Gators remains unknown.
“[Head coach Jim McElwain’s] message to me was he was hoping that when this thing is all said and done, I’ll be a Florida Gator," Bruce told Stampini. "It’s a lot of love coming from Florida."
That trend has been noted by national analysts, who've given the Gators a recent surge in his 247Sports Crystal Ball. The past five expert predictions project Bruce to sign with Florida.
The fact Bruce plans to take all five official visits proves he's open to exploring options beyond Miami. Recent developments indicate Florida is the team most likely to alter his allegiances.