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Prescott High football's Bruso is national scholar athlete

Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier, file<br>
Tyler Bruso (25), seen sacking Kingman quarterback Jose Moreno back on Oct. 2, 2014, at PHS, earlier this month was awarded a scholar athlete award from the National Football Foundation.

Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier, file<br> Tyler Bruso (25), seen sacking Kingman quarterback Jose Moreno back on Oct. 2, 2014, at PHS, earlier this month was awarded a scholar athlete award from the National Football Foundation.

Prescott High star senior linebacker Tyler Bruso earned a prestigious scholar athlete award from the National Football Foundation (NFF) at the organization's annual banquet on March 14 in Phoenix.

Bruso, 18, was an NFF Valley of the Sun second-team selection, meaning he was chosen as one of the top 22 high school football scholar athletes in Arizona across all divisions.

"A selection committee will put you on teams and give out certain awards," Bruso said of the NFF's scholar athlete awards selection process this past Thursday, March 27. "It was a really big deal, and it was a huge honor."

To gain acceptance as an NFF scholar athlete, Bruso said he completed a lengthy application that requires applicants to list their accomplishments on the football field as well as in the classroom.

Prescott football coach Cody Collett received a nomination packet from the NFF and passed it along to Bruso.

"I had to list all the clubs I'm in at school, the extracurricular activities, all the community service I've done," Bruso said. "I got letters of recommendation from different people, (including) my transcripts, all that stuff. It was very thorough and thought out."

In the 2014 season, the speedy 5-foot-11, 190-pound Bruso was the Badgers' leading tackler with 101 stops, garnering first team All-Division 3, Section 4 honors in addition to being named the section's Co-Defensive Player of the Year. The All-Courier pick also registered three sacks for 34 yards in losses, two hurries, an interception return for TD, a pass deflection and a fumble recovery. "I've never received an award this prestigious, and it's kind of cool to join like a brotherhood, or a fraternity, that so many former and current college and NFL greats have been a part of," Bruso added. "It's a huge honor to join them in that company."

Bruso said former Arizona State University football coach Frank Kush and several NCAA Division 1 football players and former NFL players attended the March 14 banquet.

In 2014, former Prescott lineman Willy Andrews won an NFF scholar athlete award, making this the second straight year that a PHS football player has taken home the hardware.

"It was really cool that our school got two in a row," Bruso said. "Usually schools up north (in Arizona) don't get as much recognition (as those in the urban areas). It's just nice to see we're finally getting more recognition from people in the Valley (Phoenix area)."

Bruso has played football since the fourth grade. He said he "started out as a chubby little lineman" and fortunately grew and developed into a linebacker.

Bruso had planned to play college football, but he said nagging shoulder and neck problems have caught up with him and he's decided not to compete.

"My doctor told me I shouldn't have played this last year, let alone anymore in college," Bruso said. "I was just kind of happy to end my career on a good note in a place where I was content with what I'd done. I didn't want to risk harming my future."

In the months after graduating from PHS in May, Bruso will move to Flagstaff to attend Northern Arizona University, where he'll be on the full Lumberjack Scholarship (covers tuition for four years). He'll join Andrews, who's currently in his freshman year at NAU.

Bruso plans to study business and finance, and possibly become a stockbroker.

"I went up there, I loved the campus - it was beautiful," Bruso said of NAU. "I have a lot of friends up there. It's a great atmosphere, environment. I'm very excited to start my future."

Follow Doug Cook on Twitter @dougout_dc

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