BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU fans can only hope Garrett Brumfield’s introduction to them is as memorable as the first time he met his teammates.
“He got up and said ‘My name is Garrett, aka Bruiser, aka: Bruiser,” center Ethan Pocic recalls with a laugh. “He said it twice. That’s his thing. He’s even got it tattooed on him.”
The sophomore will get his first career start against Florida, taking the place of injured left guard Will Clapp. Brumfield’s first serious action was in the second half of the Missouri game when Clapp left with an arm injury that has him still walking around in a sling.
Brumfield has been called “Bruiser” for literally as long as he has played football.
“The first day of youth football I did really well and my coach gave me that name,” he said. “I guess you could say that (I was hurting people) — for an 8-year-old.”
How well has the name stuck?
It turns out most people in Baton Rouge don’t know who this “Garrett” Brumfield you’re speaking of is.
“I’ve lived in Baton Rouge my entire life and there’s people who don’t know my real name,” he said. “They’ve known me as Bruiser Brumfield my entire life.”
Brumfield is a graduate of University High, which plays on a field adjacent to LSU’s practice fields and gets to use the indoor facility for its practices. Thus, it would seem like a no-brainer that LSU was always going to get him.
But there is one school Brumfield considered leaving Baton Rouge for: Florida, the very one he will be making his first start against. However, when Will Muschamp was fired, Brumfield’s interest in the Gators waned, pushing LSU back in front.
Now that feels like the way it was always meant to be for him.
“I love Baton Rouge,” Brumfield said. “I feel I can do a lot for my city.”
Despite carrying the pitch-perfect wrestling moniker of Bruiser Brumfield, he hardly plays the ogre role well. He is one of the more intellectually engaged members of the team, and magic tricks are one of his favorite hobbies.
That skill created his second nickname, “Broudini.”
“When I was a freshman, we had to compete in a talent show during camp,” he said. “During the talent show — I’ve been doing magic since I was 12 — I did a little magic during the performance. ‘Broudini’ went with Houdini and it stuck ever since.”
Brumfield says most of his tricks involve sleight of hand with cards and other common objects like pencils or rings.
“Not too many live-animal things,” he chuckled.
Of course, with such quick hands, it could not be helped but to ask whether he’s ever tested to see if he can get away with holding more easily than the average offensive lineman.
“That is a good point,” Brumfield said after a moment of thought. “Maybe I could sneak something in there every once in awhile. But I don’t want to do too much”
Provided there’s no trickery afoot, this week Brumfield will simply try bruising the one school that made him consider leaving home as LSU’s offense attempts to regain the magic of last week’s record-setting performance against Missouri.