Ryan Bruce has been a mainstay in the red and white of Glen Rose for the past four seasons.

However, on Friday, Bruce made the jump to the next level by signing a letter of intent to don the purple and gold of NCAA Division III Hardin-Simmons.

“It just felt like the right fit,” said Bruce. “They are in a rebuilding phase and they are starting from the bottom, up. I think I can make my mark there and after two or three years, maybe be in a position for a national championship.”

Bruce chose the Abilene-based program over fellow D-III programs McMurry University and The Ozarks and D-II Dallas Baptist University.

Bruce was awarded academic scholarships to the university.

“It's a good fit for Ryan,” said Glen Rose head coach Wayne Roberts. “It gives him the chance to play early and he is able to stay close to home, which is important to him. It's great for Hardin Simmons and for Ryan.”

Bruce will join a program that finished 9-16 under first year head coach Craig Carse last season. Carse has coached at every collegiate level, including being an assistant under Dale Brown at LSU, where he coached Shaquille O'Neal and Chris Jackson and was a part of the school's No. 1 ranking, according to the Hardin-Simmons Web site.

“This will be (Carse's) first season to recruit the players he wants to recruit,” said Roberts. “He watched a lot of film on Ryan and will probably use him as a combo guard.”

Bruce was a two-time All-State selection at Glen Rose and the 2008-09 District 7-3A MVP. He leaves the Tigers after averaging just under 22 points per game and hitting 41-percent of his shots from beyond the arc.

“He has the chance to be very successful,” said Roberts. “In college ball, whether it's DI, DII, DIII or NAIA, there are adjustments to be made. He'll need to adjust to the academics and adjust his time management, but I think he has the chance to be very successful.”