So he did all that, generated all the football scholarship offers during his senior season and returned to the basketball court.
"I figured it was my last year in high school and I was probably never going to play organized basketball again, so why not play my last year?" Bruce said. "We lost a lot players from the year before and my coach and my teammates wanted me to play, so I decided to do it.
"Plus, we ended up winning state the year before, and I said, 'Well, I've got to play next year.' "
Providence was a talented team with Will Cummings, who signed at Temple, and Wayne Martin, the Florida Association of Basketball Coaches 2010-11 Class 2A Player of the Year, who signed at Central Florida. The Stallions were the top-ranked team in the state and played into the regional semifinal, but had to go on without Martin.
He tore an Achilles' tendon in practice a few days before the semifinal, the kind of injury Bruce knew he was risking. It was Bruce who helped out, though, with 15 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks while starting for Martin - who was the team's 6-7 center. Providence won, but lost the regional final by two points to the eventual state runner-up.
"It actually helped me out a lot," Bruce said. "I had a lot of fun and it gave me a lot of confidence going forward. I was happy I made that decision."
So, too, is Patterson. He says Bruce is the type of player WVU wants to recruit, but not solely because he's familiar with the middle or capable in open space. Patterson likes to recruit multi-sport athletes and multi-sport winners.
Patterson sees spread offenses across college football now. It used to be that a small number of teams featured the spread. Now almost every team is capable of some variation of the spread as part of their attack.
"As a defense, you have to have guys on the field who can make plays in space," Patterson said. "Teams are doing these negative-yardage routes that all of a sudden turn into a 9-yard gain and it's nothing but a long handoff. You have to have guys who can move and make plays.
"Honestly, I like recruiting the multi-sport athletes. I think sometimes it's not always about what you see because their ceiling for improvement maybe is higher."
That's Bruce, who will attack from the middle for the Mountaineers like he did for the Stallions, who eventually realized Bruce was better in the middle than he was outside because opponents spent two years staying away from his side of the field.
Bruce has the size and strength to post up an opponent or to shed blocks. He can move laterally to take a charge or blow up a screen pass. He can stride and surge to clear a hurdle or hurdle a cut block. He can explode to finish a race or to finish a tackle.
"I feel like it's good to see a different variety of sports and opponents and to have different teammates and different experiences," Bruce said. "That can really help your overall experience because it's all different competition and it's different conditioning. Each sport helps you with other sports and at the end you feel like you've done and seen everything."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.