The sound of 101,915 Tennessee fans yelling “Bruuuuuuu” echoed through Neyland Stadium Saturday afternoon. It was a rewarding experience for Bru McCoy. The Southern Cal transfer receiver’s success lifting a weight off his shoulder.
Four games into his Tennessee tenure, McCoy’s success is impressive yet unsurprising. However, don’t let that make you think it was a given either.
McCoy’s breakout performance against then-No. 20 Florida came less than a month after the NCAA awarded him immediate eligibility.
For two months, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound receiver was over 2,000 miles from home unsure whether he’d be able to play the sport he came across the country to play. All while the drama surrounding his departure from USC partially stood in the way of his goals.
“I was really anxious just waiting to find out. I came a long way and finally getting to know— more so I was just happy to be able to give something to the team,” McCoy said of gaining eligibility. “Provide something and not just be a body that came in and there was all this media behind it. Now I actually got the opportunity to come out and play and do something for the team. It was just a big weight lifted off my shoulders and my family’s shoulders. I was just extremely excited.”
Even after receiving eligibility, McCoy’s success was far from guaranteed. The former five-star recruit came to Knoxville with more past drama than past success.
McCoy missed the entire 2021 season after the LAPD arrested McCoy on suspicion of felony intimate partner violence. Even following LAPD’s decision not to press charges in August 2021, McCoy remained suspended leading to his ultimate decision to transfer.
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After enrolling in college ahead of the 2019 season, McCoy brought just his 236 yards and two touchdowns from the COVID-19 shortened 2020 season to Knoxville.
However, McCoy proved he was more than just a big name with hype against the Gators. With Cedric Tillman sidelined, McCoy was the top receiver on the field tallying 102 receiving yards and a touchdown
“I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into— in the best way ever,” McCoy said of the Neyland Stadium environment. “Couldn’t picture it. Couldn’t fathom it. The sound, the crowd, everything. It’s an unbelievable experience.”
Four games into his Tennessee career, McCoy is quickly living up to the potential recruiting services saw in him. The physical receiver has matched his career touchdown total and already has 211 yards on the season.
The majority of McCoy’ success came in Tennessee’s two matchups against top 25 teams (160 yards and two touchdowns) and not the middling MAC teams the Vols’ brutalized.
With seven of Tennessee’s eight final games coming against SEC opponents, McCoy’s just scratching the surface of his potential success.
After months of anxiety, there’s only awe and gratitude coming from McCoy about his Tennessee experience.
“It was surreal,” McCoy said. “I made the best decision I’ve made coming here.”