MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — With summer workouts in full-sweat and the start of West Virginia preseason camp less than 40 days away, MetroNews continues counting down our Top 10 Most Pivotal Players for the 2014 season. Today we highlight another linebacker on the move:
No. 5 ISAIAH BRUCE
Position: Sam linebacker
Class: Redshirt junior
Measurables: 6-2, 232
Bruce felt marginalized and a tad uncomfortable last season after moving outside to the Spur linebacker spot. He forced three fumbles, recovered two more and made 43 tackles but admittedly wasn’t an instinctive fit in space. This year he’s returning to the middle, happy to be back in traffic and happy to be back at the position where he made 94 stops as a freshman.
Paired with Mike linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski (86 tackles), Bruce should give West Virginia a middle tandem that’s experienced and athletic. They’re a reason the linebacking unit is the deepest on the defense.
However, Bruce hasn’t done much in the pass-rushing department—he only has a half-sack during his first two seasons. That means Bruce’s backup, junior college transfer Edward Muldrow, could become a situational substitute in obvious passing downs.