Bullough Reflects on Being a Spartan

Saturday news leaked about Riley Bullough's verbal pledge to be a member of the Spartans football family. After taking a few days to let it sink in, the next Bullough who will wear the Green & White spoke about his decision.

For Riley Bullough becoming a member of the Michigan State Spartans football recruiting class of 2012 was a life changing decision. Despite his families' long history in the Spartans program, the decision to join his brother at MSU was left totally to him. How does it feel to have made his decision?

"It feels great. During the whole recruiting process there is a lot of pressure and to make my commitment to Michigan State feels real good."

While Spartan fans are familiar with the Bullough name, do not expect Riley to live just off of the history of his families tradition.

"Bullough is a big name at Michigan State and I feel people will have a lot of expectations. I know I will have a lot of expectations just as everybody does going to play college football.

"I look forward going to Michigan State and trying to contribute as early as I can. I just wanted to make the decision as early as I could to show Michigan State and the coaching staff I wanted to be a Spartan and I cannot wait to get there and start working."

Riley has also connected with two of his future teammates Zach Higgins and Benny McGowan who issued their pledges prior to the Spartans spring game. All three agree they need to play a role in helping build the Spartans recruiting class.

"I've already talked with Zach Higgins and Benny McGowan about that and we all feel it is important we play a role. The coaches can do a lot in trying to recruit kids, but I think if they have a chance to talk with other kids who have made their decision it can really help as we can relate to each other. So we're really looking forward to getting some more big time recruits to Michigan State."

While Higgins and McGowan gave their pledges on Saturday, Riley gave the Spartan coaches and his family the news on Thursday. Who was the first to find out?

"I ended up talking with Coach Tressel. I called Coach Dantonio first, but he was at a banquet so I called coach Tressel and told him I wanted to be a Spartan. So he was the first to know."

What did Coach Tressel say about the news?

"He was happy. He congratulated me on it and he knew that I had made the right decision so it was a really fun conversation."

And what response did he get from head coach Mark Dantonio?

"It was fun as we were both laughing and joking around and we talked about the upcoming weekend and how we were really excited about seeing each other."

For Riley, knowing he can continue his relationship with the Spartans head coach played a major role in his decision.

"Since Max has been at Michigan State, I have become really close to Coach Dantonio and been able to sit down in his office with him and talk with him many times. He is a stern guy on the outside and a really stern coach. He is not going to joke around a lot when he is on the field. However, off the field he is really funny and cracking jokes and is a really fun guy to be around. I feel that makes him special because on the field he can be serious and try to get everything up to speed while being serious, but off the field he is really a great guy."

How did brother Max take the news?

"When I told him he was with a bunch of other players and he told everyone that I had finally made my decision. He was happy I'm going to be a Spartan.

"He told me I better go to State. But I really didn't listen to him as I wanted to go out and see things for myself before making my decision."

As for the main reasons for making his decision at this time, Riley reflected on the past couple of years of being able to see the Spartans program up close.

"I think there are a few things as I have grown so close to the coaching staff over the last couple of years. I have also been able to meet a lot of the players and build some friendships with them. So when I go down there I'm already part of a family, the Spartan family, and that is really unique as compared to some of the other schools I had considered."

While Riley has been to Spartan Stadium many times before, Saturday he found his walk into his soon to be on field home a little different.

"It was awesome and it was a feeling I had never felt before. This was the first time I felt like I was part of the program. It was something unique to experience and it was a really fun day overall being able to talk with all the coaches and finally being a Spartan. It was different from the other times I had been there when I was not a Spartan."

While he did not get a chance to speak with Zach Higgins or Benny McGowan during the spring game, all three have been able to connect and talk about their futures.

"I did not get to speak with Benny or Zach on Saturday. I talked with each of them and just talked with Zach on Facebook. We all talked about the different schools we had been to and how Michigan State was different and how excited each of us were about being Spartans."

As for his future on the field, Riley feels his future will be next to his brother once he's wearing Green & White.

"I was recruited by Michigan State as an outside linebacker. I am 6-foot-2, 205-pounds right now, so I think I will be able to get in the 220s. So I feel I will be an outside linebacker in college."

Having seen firsthand the change a player makes from high school to college, what is Riley looking forward to the most in his overall development?

"Max, when he was my age there was a tremendous difference from this age to a year from now. I am really looking forward to that to see how I grow physically. I also look forward to learning more about football and about defenses so I'm really prepared when I get to State next year."

As many know the Bullough family has ties to more than one college program. What was the reaction to the news of his college decision by both sides of the family?

"All of my family was excited about my decision and supportive throughout the whole process. That really helped me a lot as it took a lot of pressure off my shoulders."

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