football Edit

Isaiah Bruce excited to get started at Iowa

Defensive lineman Isaiah Bruce is looking forward to his freshman year at Iowa.
Defensive lineman Isaiah Bruce is looking forward to his freshman year at Iowa.

After a dominant high school career, defensive lineman Isaiah Bruce is excited to get started with the next step, which will take him to the University of Iowa. We caught up with the 6-foot-2, 260-pound Bruce this week to discuss his upcoming freshman year for the Hawkeyes, what he is doing to get ready, and much more.

Q: What have things been like for you the past two months during the pandemic and just finishing up your senior year under such unique circumstances?

BRUCE: Yeah, it’s been different. There’s really no other way to put it, but it’s just something that we had to deal with so we can get rid of this.

Q: What have you been able to do training wise?

BRUCE: I’ve been doing a lot of conditioning and a lot of body weight stuff, just trying to stay in shape.

Q: School wise, are you doing online classes or are you done now?

BRUCE: I just got done with them last Friday.

Q: So there next step for you will be making the move to Iowa. What’s the latest you’ve heard on that front and when that might be?

BRUCE: They’re hoping like late June or early July. That’s what they’re looking at right now to get us all there.

Q: Talking to some of the other guys, it sounds like you have already started Zoom meetings with Coach Bell. What have you taken away from those so far?

BRUCE: We’re just starting to learn the defense and all the things we need to know to be able to adapt to the next level. I’ve learned so much more in those meetings than I ever did in high school. It’s just amazing how much more you can learn in the game of football.

Q: For you coming in, are they thinking defensive end, defensive tackle, or both?

BRUCE: Coach Bell wants us all to learn each position. He doesn’t want us to just know one position. He wants us to know them all and then they’ll see later what they want us to do and what holes they need to fill.

Q: Where do you see yourself playing 2-3 years from now?

BRUCE: I would say as an interior defensive lineman.

Q: Where are you coming in at height and weight wise?

BRUCE: I’m around 6-1 or 6-2 and 260 pounds.

Q: Have you found out what number you are wearing in college?

BRUCE: Yeah, #88.

Q: That was your high school number right?

BRUCE: Yeah, it was. I’m really glad I got it.

Q: With your high school team, Lena-Winslow, you were pretty dominant on your way to a state title last season and have not only yourself, but also Gennings Dunker and Sean Ormiston headed to Iowa. What is it do you think that makes the program so successful and produces so many Division I players for such a small school?

BRUCE: It’s the coaches. They preach a lot of the same things that college coaches do. They want to see you succeed on the football field, but at the end of the day they want you to succeed in life so that really creates a great bond with the whole team. Then in the weight room, we really, really put in a lot of effort and it shows on the field I think.

Q: What can you tell us about Sean Ormiston, who decided to walk on at Iowa?

BRUCE: He’s an extremely hard worker. He doesn’t stop until he gets the job done. He never gives up. He’s a really good, athletic player and really smart. I can’t say enough good things about him.

Q: How about Gennings Dunker? What kind of growth did you see from him his junior year?

BRUCE: He gets better and better every week. He keeps growing and is still developing his body, but he can do a lot of things and really do some damage. He’s an amazing athlete too.

Q: How about yourself? What were able to improve on as a senior to help your team win the state title?

BRUCE: I would say just the mental aspect of the game. I relied a lot of my strength and speed before, but watching more film and learning all the little things has helped me a lot with knowing what to expect out there on the field on game day.

Q: Looking ahead to Iowa, what is the feeling going to be like when you come out of the tunnel at Kinnick Stadium for the first time?

BRUCE: Oh man, it’s going to be ridiculous. I honestly can’t wait. Just being on the field as a recruit before the game, it’s a crazy feeling, but being in uniform and the helmet and pads, it will be so much better.

Q: When you look back at your recruiting, it really all started when you went to Iowa’s camp two years ago. What do you remember about that whole experience and how you earned the offer?

BRUCE: Well, at the end of my sophomore year, Coach Wallace was in contact with one of my high school coaches and ended up inviting me to one of their camps. I went up there for a skilled camp first as a tight end and they saw my speed and my hands. Then they invited me to the linemen camp that was right afterwards, so I went to that but I started cramping up really bad because it was really hot that day. So they invited me back to the next linemen camp the following week and I did really well against some highly recruited guys, so they offered me right there.

Q: What do you think set you apart that led your success at that camp?

BRUCE: Just my ability to learn and do what they asked me to do, whether it was technique or a certain move, and then my explosiveness off the ball too.

Q: You committed early and stuck with it even as more offers came in. What made you so comfortable with Iowa that made it the right fit?

BRUCE: Just the coaches. They keep it real with you and don’t sugarcoat anything, so you know they’re not lying like some of the other coaches do. Plus it’s close to home, which helps with my family, and just the way they do stuff there. They turn three-stars into five-stars. It’s amazing what they do there.

A three-star prospect, Bruce committed to Iowa on November 1, 2018, choosing the Hawkeyes over scholarship offers from Northwestern and Iowa State.

A two-time conference MVP, Bruce finished his senior season with 63 tackles and 16 TFL on defense to go along with 84 carries for 1,052 yards and 16 touchdowns on offense as he led Lena-Winslow to an undefeated state championship season in 2019.

See highlights from Bruce's senior year in the video below.