Bullard returning for senior year

Shortly after Florida announced all but one of its new assistant coaches, the Gators got some more good news.

Defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard will return to the program for his senior year.

"As a veteran player coming back, I want be a leader on this team as the program enters a new era with a new coaching staff,'' Bullard told Gatorzone.com, the athletic department’s official website. "I want to be a role model for the younger players and help them to buy into the future of the program."

As a junior, Bullard was sixth on the team with 52 tackles and second on the team with 8.5 tackles for a loss. He was fourth on the team with 2.5 sacks and second on the team with 12 quarterback hurries. The junior also ended the season on a high note, totaling six tackles and one sack in the Birmingham Bowl win over East Carolina.

Bullard had a strong season while playing defensive end and defensive tackle. He came to Florida as an end, set on playing the position and heading to the NFL as an elite pass rusher. During his sophomore season, Will Muschamp approached him about moving inside and helping the team out as a defensive tackle.

He split time over the last two seasons playing both spots. Muschamp sold Bullard on the move to help his versatility in the NFL, but it also helps Florida. He played inside throughout most of 2014, but he started the Birmingham Bowl at defensive end.

"I wasn't projected to go where I want to go,'' Bullard said. "I want to leave a bigger mark on the Florida program than what I have."

Bullard’s versatility will go a long way to helping the Florida defense in 2015. Under new defensive line coach Terrell Williams, who left the same position with the Oakland Raiders, Florida will have to replace the consistent pass rush Dante Fowler provided in 2014. Bullard won’t be able to do it by himself but getting the senior back will help Florida ease the blow.

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