Joey Bullen living a dream at Navy

Sure, Navy recruited kicker Joey Bullen during his senior year at Glynn (Ga.) Academy. It just so happens that coaches from Navy's men's soccer team made all the calls to Bullen. He didn't get a look from any Division I-A football programs. However, Bullen dreamed about kicking for the Midshipmen.

Sometimes Bullen still thinks he's dreaming. "It's just amazing," says Bullen of his rise from Navy's sprint team kicker to varsity starter. "I knew I didn't have anything to lose, but I wouldn't ever believed things would have turned out like this."

Bullen's story begins at Glynn, where he played varsity soccer and football for four years. Only Division II, III and junior colleges recruited him for football. So Bullen went to Navy to play sprint football, still holding on to his dream of playing Division I-A football.

He had a good year as a freshman in 2004, converting 6-of-10 field goal attempts and 30-of-32 extra points. But Bullen wanted a shot at the big-time, so he began knocking on some varsity coaches door and head coach Paul Johnson gave him a tryout.

There he was as an unproven freshman in the spring of 2005, competing with Adam Young and Ethan Gouge for the starting job. Not a problem. Bullen showed off his leg and his moxie, winning the starter's position. Young later quit the team to play rugby and Gouge is competing for the starting punting position.

As for Bullen, he was lights out for Navy last season. He set a school-record with 52 extra points and was 9-of-12 on field goal attempts. Bullen's biggest came against rival Air Force when he nailed a career-long 46-yarder with four seconds remaining to give Navy a 27-24 win. Because the play developed so quickly, Air Force never called a timeout, thinking Navy might not get the kick off. Even if Air Force tried to ice Bullen, it probably wouldn't have worked. Forget the fact that Bullen ignored the odds against him to even get a shot kicking. Once he knows he might be attempting a field goal, he begins visualizing the kick, watch it sail through the uprights.

Bullen booted a 57-yard field goal during practice last week. The way his story has been written, don't be surprised if he nails a kick like that in the season-opener against East Carolina.

"I hope to get the opportunity," Bullen said. "I'm just going to keep practicing hard until then."


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