November 1, 2012

Sam Bruno visits the school he grew up rooting for

Whitehouse, Ohio is in the Toledo suburbs - and area that is split between supporters of Michigan and supporters of Ohio State. Anthony Wayne High School junior Sam Bruno is one of those who grew up a fan of the Wolverines. He has been to several Michigan games in his life, but Oct. 13, he got to experience Ann Arbor for the first time as a recruit.

"As a kid I've been to Ann Arbor tailgating, and they've always been my favorite school," Bruno explained. "But when you go there and you're walking around campus to get to the stadium, you just notice there's people everywhere. I mean, everybody is a part of the game. It's not just centralized, it's miles out how many people are tailgating. The people are awesome there and everybody's supportive and they want to see the team be as good as they can."

The 6-2, 185-pound Bruno plays both running back and defensive back for Anthony Wayne, and for a while he thought he'd be a ball-carrier at the college level. However, an eye-opening experience at the University of Toledo summer camp earlier this year made him realize his future could be on the defensive side of the ball. That camp also-kick-started him in the recruiting process.

"It started out that I went to Toledo football camp, and that went really well," Bruno explained. "I was in the running back drills and they brought me over to work with the DBs too. That was probably the start to most of it. I talked to the coches there and they liked what I had to offer.

"I've been communicating with Toledo a lot. As the school year went on, Akron reached out, Cincinnati, Illinois - I've been getting a lot of stuff from Illinois - Pitt, a little from Penn State, Indiana, and Nebraska."

Though he doesn't have any scholarship offers yet, Bruno is looking at MAC schools as among the most likely to come calling soon. Of course, the childhood favorite Michigan has also reached out. Bruno received letters from the U-M coaching staff over the course of the summer and fall, and when he was invited to see the Wolverines' homecoming contest against the Illini, he wasted no time in accepting.

"They reached out to me initially with a few letters describing the university and what they had to offer and stuff like that," he said. So I ended up getting a message for the Illinois game which I took up immediately. I got up to the Illinois game and it was a great time. I mean, the atmosphere was second to none, that's for sure. It was awesome."

He got a chance to see not only a good football game - U-M downed the Illini 45-0 on a rainy afternoon - but also some of what Michigan's program has to offer to student-athletes. That included discussions with some of the key Michigan coaches involved in his recruitment.

"When I got into the meeting room, I got to talk to a few of the coaches," he said. "[Offensive coordinator] Al Borges and one of the defensive backs coaches were cool guys, and they were really open about talking to me about the team, so it was awesome.

"They were talking not too much in the [recruiting pitch] aspect, but a lot about just general questions about how the season's going. Then they opened up into a little bit about what they're looking for and how they're going to perform against Illinois and things like that."

As the recruiting process plays out, Bruno would like to take recruiting trips to Pittsburgh and Nebraska during the remainder of the season. He would also like to see as many college campuses as possible before all is said and done.

Michigan, however, will always have the draw of being his childhood favorite. The Wolverines have another boost, as well. Wayne senior basketball star Mark Donnal is committed to the Wolverines, and Bruno says he's willing to ask his older schoolmate for advice about the school.

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