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Sports

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Draft coverage
Saturday
Time: 4 p.m. (ESPN); 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
Sunday
Time: 10 a.m. (ESPN)
David Bruton
Position: Safety
School: Notre Dame
Height/weight: 6-2/219
The skinny: 214 career tackles, 7 tackles for loss, 7 interceptions, 9 pass breakups. … One of the best gunners and special teams players in the draft, which NFLDraftScout.com senior analyst Rob Rang says could bump him up a round. … Had one of the best combine performances with a 4.46 40-yard dash.

Likely draftee ‘talk of the town’

Irish safety’s home proud, energized

The calendar in David Bruton’s kitchen – with X’s crossing out each day until this weekend’s NFL draft – has been turned around. No signs are hanging in downtown Miamisburg, Ohio, either.

Visual signs aren’t necessary this week. In this 20,000-person suburb of Dayton, it’s all word of mouth, from a discussion at the local diner to the hot topic at Tuesday’s city council meeting. For the first time since football started in Miamisburg in 1896, one of their own, former Notre Dame safety David Bruton, will likely be selected in the NFL draft.

“He’s huge,” said Dutch Schoenberger, co-president of the Miamisburg Gridiron Club. “Everyone in town knows him. You mention the name David Bruton, 98.7 percent of the people know him.

“This is kind of a big deal, a huge deal, for us.”

The Gridiron Club will hold a draft party Saturday at a local restaurant, Ron’s Pizza and Ribs, likely to attract hundreds. In anticipation, a side street next to the restaurant will be blocked off Saturday.

Another party, hosted by Bruton’s family, is scheduled for Sunday, when Bruton is expected to be drafted.

“There’s a lot of pride in the community,” said Gary Giles, public information officer for the Miamisburg mayor’s office. “I think those people that take pride in athletics are going to watch with interest how high he’ll be drafted. It’ll give him a special place in this community’s history.”

After impressing teams at the NFL combine with a 4.46 time in the 40-yard dash, the 6-foot-2 special teams player began climbing draft boards and is expected to be picked from the late second round Saturday to early fourth round Sunday. He had a private workout in South Bend with the Denver Broncos and flew in for visits with the Broncos and the New York Jets.

Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com senior analyst, said Bruton ranks as high as the second safety on some draft boards. It’s a long way from when he came to Notre Dame from Miamisburg as a lanky freshman with track speed and little muscle.

“I thought I’d get my degree, start working and hit the real world running,” Bruton said. “I guess it changed when I got my bearings straight my sophomore year, the whole idea of that being a potential job and having the real potential to play.”

As a sophomore against LSU in the Sugar Bowl, he had four special-teams tackles, a performance that gave him confidence he could play. From there, he replaced Chinedum Ndukwe at safety and became one of the best special teams players and safeties in the country.

Bruton has tried to stay with routine in the month leading up to the draft. Every morning, he’d wake up around 7:30 and either run on the upstairs track at Miamisburg High or use an elliptical machine, speed bike or stairmaster. Then after breakfast he’d lift weights and do drills. Bruton hopes the work culminates this weekend with his phone ringing.

“No, I don’t know,” Bruton said of how he will react if he is drafted. “I really don’t know. I just have to wait and see how I react to it. I know I’ll be excited.”

He won’t be the only one.

“He’s got a lot of people coming down to root for him when he makes it,” said Ron Holp, owner of Ron’s Pizza and Ribs. “I don’t think there’s any doubt he’ll get drafted. It’s the talk of the town right now.”

mrothstein@jg.net

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