Bruce White Seizes His Opportunity
Bruce White, No. 22, is lifted by his teammate Nick George, No. 52, after scoring his first career touchdown on a 13-yard run during the home game against Central Missouri on Saturday, Oct. 28. (Hayden Barzditis/The Vista)
“I’ve been short my whole life. It’s not all about size,” White told the Tulsa World in 2016. “It’s about how much fight you have. I believe I have a lot of heart. If you hit me, you’re going to have to put a lot of effort into it.”
The past three weeks, walk-on freshman Bruce White has taken full advantage of the opportunity of being the University of Central Oklahoma’s starting running back.
Even with White’s success at the end of the season, the Bronchos have not decided whether or not his play earned him a scholarship.
“We’ll see how he finishes this semester in the classroom and on the field,” head coach Nick Bobeck said.
White has had 58 carries for 294 yards and three touchdowns in his first three games.
“He’s allowed us to have a run game, which is huge in this offense,” Bobeck said.
Last season, White played at Tulsa East Central High School, where he didn’t have any scholarship offers, but chose to walk-on at UCO.
Bobeck said White was recruited by Nick Graham, assistant football coach and defensive backs coach, to walk-on to UCO’s football team.
White has become the new UCO starting running back after the team has lost four running backs due to injury or quitting.
Running back Clay McKenzie ranked 10th and Jake Gandara ranked 11th in UCO all-time purpose yards. Both tore their ACL’s during the early stage of the season.
Redshirt freshman Jake Standlee suffered a concussion against Missouri Southern State University and redshirt freshman Quan Hogan suddenly quit the team.
“You never expect to lose kids and anytime you lose one, it hurts the team no matter whether it is injury or they decide not to play football anymore,” Bobeck said.
The team was left with a gaping hole at running back, which was filled by the 5-foot-5-inch freshman, who has started the past two games for the Bronchos.
“We figured he would have success because he can hide behind the offensive line and pick his way through the defense,” Bobeck said.
In White’s first collegiate start, he ran for 134 yards and two touchdowns, helping lead the Bronchos to upset then ranked No. 23 University of Central Missouri.
“It was huge as he was able to give us a boost, not only physically, but emotionally,” Bobeck said. “Everybody was excited to see him have success.”
White ran for a team high 86 yards on 18 carries in UCO’s victory over Washburn University.
This weekend in the President’s Cup, UCO defeated their rival Northeastern State University 61-21, where White continued his success on 18 carries for 74 yards and rushed in his third touchdown on the season.
“He has played unafraid and confident,” Bobeck said.