Depending on how the remainder of the 2017 season plays out, Schertz Clemens wide receiver Tommy Bush’s high school career will conclude in as few as six games and as many as 12 if a state title is in the Buffaloes future.
Through five games, Bush and the Buffaloes remain unblemished and boast a 2-0 record within district play, shutting out San Antonio East Central and San Antonio Wagner by a combined score of 58-0.
Having enjoyed such early success, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if the Buffaloes were peeking at what may be on the horizon in mid-November and December, and as Bush will admit, Clemens does already have its eyes on the postseason.
"We're kind of looking at the playoffs,” Bush told Burnt Orange Nation of the team’s goals entering the second half of the season. “Like my pops told me, once we get to playoffs, it's a new season. So as long as we get in, it doesn't matter where we get in at because if we're going to win the state championship, we've got to go through whoever we've got to go through."
Meanwhile, as Bush and the Buffaloes look ahead towards the win-or-go-home portion of their schedule, the four-star pass-catcher must also look ahead towards his collegiate future.
One of the nation’s most coveted prospects with 44 offers to date, Bush has approached the portion of his recruitment in which he’s gearing up for several visits across the country. Bush told BON that he plans to officially visit Nebraska on Oct. 6, along with taking tours to Ole Miss, Michigan State, and USC throughout the fall. While in-state options such as Texas and Baylor are still very much in the mix, if not the favorites, Bush remains completely open to the opportunity to head out of state if the fit feels right.
"We're fortunate where my parents can travel if need be,” Bush said. “Staying at home is kind of weighing on me, but my mom and dad are always telling me, 'go wherever it feels like home.'"
While visits to destinations such as USC and Michigan State require a bit more planning, Bush and his father recently made the short trek up I-35 to visit Baylor during the Bears meeting with Oklahoma.
Considering Baylor entered the evening still winless and Oklahoma boasts College Football Playoff aspirations, Bush was admittedly unsure of what to expect in Waco during his visit.
"It kind of jumped out on me," Bush said. "Those guys; you can tell they want to play for Coach [Matt] Rhule; they fought. [Denzel] Mims balled out. I loved the way they were taking deep shots at them and fought. I was just really happy to see those guys just play for coach Rhule because he's just a good, good guy."
And make no mistake about it — despite the cultural overhaul currently underway and the 0-5 record, Bush is tremendously interested in potentially playing for Rhule at Baylor.
"He's not only a great coach but just a great human,” Bush said of Baylor’s first-year head coach. “He always asks how I'm doing and we never talk about football. Some coaches, we talk about depth charts and when I'm signing and when I'm going to come to my agreement and the first thing he said to me and my family was he would never really talk about that; that I always had a scholarship there until I signed [somewhere] in February. That kind of always eased my mind about going to Baylor. I just want to see them do well and be a great team for him."
Joining Baylor as a high-profile in-state school still heavily involved in Bush’s recruitment is Tom Herman and the Texas Longhorns.
Thanks in large part to a lack of readily available game film – Clemens’ offensive scheme is run intensive – Texas took its time evaluating the San Antonio-area product. In the meantime, the Horns went all in on options such as Brennan Eagles, Al’vonte Woodard, and Rondale Moore, and now hold pledges from all three.
The staff isn’t done yet, though.
Bush communicates with wide receivers coach Drew Mehringer quite frequently and should he ultimately boast burnt orange, Bush said the staff has discussed with him how they envision placing all four prolific pass-catchers on the field at once.
Such a selling point can actually prove to be beneficial in the Horns’ hopes of building upon their No. 2-ranked 2018 class, as Bush prefers to be in a system that spreads the ball around and utilizes all of its playmakers.
"Is just one receiver getting the ball or are they spreading it around and getting it to the slot and the tight end, both receivers; are they running different routes?"
And make no mistake about it – finding a systematic fit that can aid his NFL aspirations is of utter significance, which is why Bush continues to prolong the recruiting process.
“When people ask me why I haven’t committed yet, this is what makes it so hard because you try to figure out the system, especially with new coaches like Coach O [Ed Orgeron], Coach Herman, Coach [Lincoln] Riley up at OU,” Bush said.
To that end, Bush is doing much more than simply listening to coach’s pitches about his fit in their offense, too. In fact, he and his father do their due diligence, breaking down game film of each school still heavily in the mix on a weekly basis.
Texas is no exception and through four games, Bush likes what he’s seen from the Horns, noting his father’s perspective on the matter.
"The Maryland loss was the first game so you kind of wipe it off,” Bush said. “The San Jose State game was a cupcake, and then they went to USC; that kind of was like the Baylor game where it's the third or fourth game and guys are starting to understand what the coach is trying to teach them."
That said, for as significant as finding the right fit is for Bush, that’s not what will put pen to paper on National Signing Day.
A tremendously family-oriented young man, Bush has been vocal about the significance of his parent’s role in his life and recruitment. In short, if a coach can’t connect with Bush’s parents, his program’s quarterback won’t be connecting with the four-star wideout on Saturdays.
"First, they need to stay in contact with my parents,” Bush said of what a program will need to show him to earn his commitment. “My pops is like my best friend and my mom is my protector. If they don't know my mom and dad, I would feel uncomfortable going there."
They're there when I didn't believe in myself, when I had my worst moments and when i had my best. They changed me and are my key to life.❤ pic.twitter.com/6VXEtnl5bJ— 11 (@TheTommyBush11) July 30, 2017
Whichever program Bush and his family ultimately discover that required comfort level at will have to wait to find out, though. Making note of the common occurrence that is offseason coaching changes, Bush is going to wait until after the season to make his first and final decision.
As he previously said, “Wherever I commit, that’s going to be home.”
Regardless of where the San Antonio-area talent elects to make his home away from home, whether it be Austin, Waco, Baton Rouge, Norman, or elsewhere, the 6’5, 191-pound pass-catcher feels that he’ll be ready to contribute from the day he steps foot on campus.
"I think I'll be ready. I feel that after I get the playbook, once I get the signals, there's some things I need to polish up like recognizing coverages on a college level. But there's some things I can contribute right off — screens, short passes, red zone fade ball; those kinds of things I don't need a whole lot of teaching for, I just need the ball to be placed right."