The troubled football career of University of Miami Sam Bruce ended before it really even began.
The true freshman, one of the most heralded wide receivers in the country when he arrived at UM this past summer, has been kicked off the team.
“Freshman wide receiver Sam Bruce has been dismissed from the Miami football program based on multiple violations of team rules and a failure on his part to meet the clear expectations established to be a part of the Miami football program,’’ UM sent out Monday morning in an email to media. “We wish Sam well with his future academic and football endeavors.’’
UM did not specify what led to Bruce’s dismissal, but he had lied before about at least one previous situation, sources said.
Considered one of the nation’s top high school football signees when he played at Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas High, Bruce was already out for this season after breaking a leg playing pickup basketball on campus early last month.
After he broke his leg, Bruce reached out by Twitter to one Miami Herald writer and denied that the injury was basketball related, saying the media — but not in as polite a term — “will do and say anything for a good story.’’
The rest of Bruce’s message to the Herald writer: “That’s crazy how a freak bike incident turned into a basketball injury. LOL.’’
But UM coach Mark Richt confirmed to the Miami Herald recently that Bruce injured himself trying to dunk during a pickup basketball game. Richt said he had no rules about football players being prohibited from playing basketball.
“I’m sad for him because he’s missing an opportunity to play and get better and help us win,’’ Richt told the Herald. “If I had a chronic number of this type of thing, I would have to set some rules. But I don’t like to set rules [for which] it’s hard to discipline them or oversee them if you’re not around. If I say something, I want to be able to know what’s real and discipline appropriately. I guess he was trying to slam dunk it and came down wrong and hurt himself. He’ll be back by the spring.
“I want him to handle his business, go to class, go to study hall, go to your tutors, be on time, be prepared, be respectful, do your best in every way you can,” Richt said. “Go to your treatment, do your rehab, learn what to do when you’re in meetings with your coach, grow up like all of them.”
Bruce had been previously suspended for the first three games of the season, stemming from a photo that showed Bruce holding a gun in an incident that occurred last February.
Bruce, nephew of former NFL great Isaac Bruce, is a 5-8, 180-pound Under-Armour All-American speedster who was rated the No. 7 overall receiver prospect in the nation and a four-star player by every recruiting service before he signed with Miami.
“Great, great practice player,’’ Richt said of Bruce before he broke his leg. “Works hard. Brings a lot of energy. He’s not getting as many reps as the other guys, so he’s fresher. But when he gets his reps, he’s going full speed. He looks like a player.’’
Miami Herald sportswriter Barry Jackson and correspondent Peter Ariz contributed to this report.