Pullard Will Wait Until January

Los Angeles (Calif.) Crenshaw linebacker Hayes Pullard, ranked #3-nationally at middle linebacker, will put off making a decision until January. Pullard talks about where his recruitment currently stands...

Hayes Pullard, the 6-foot-2, 220-pound, four-star middle linebacker from Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles, Calif., says he plans on going through the entire recruiting process but is ahead of the game as he's already set up his first official visit.

Pullard, ranked as the No. 3 middle linebacker in the country by Scout.com, will be visiting Washington on Sept. 5 when the Huskies take on LSU. "I lived in Louisiana (for about one year," Pullard said. "My whole family is from there, so I'm real excited about going to that game."

The Huskies/Tigers game will be televised on ESPN so Pullard expects plenty of excitement. "I want to check them out and see what the atmosphere is like," he said. "I want to see what Washington is all about."

Pullard has never been to Seattle and says the Huskies, like most of his favorites, are recruiting him for linebacker and running back. "I'm being recruited by (cornerbacks) coach Demetrice Martin and we have a good bond," he said.

"I like how he explains things to me," he said. "He's very straightforward and I like how they don't promise you anything. The whole staff seems great. They're real active and energetic. Washington is rebuilding, so it's a good opportunity there."

Although Pullard still denies a leader, he continues to favor USC, UCLA, Arizona State, Washington and Notre Dame. He says all of his favorites have offered as well as Nebraska, Stanford and a few others.

"I pretty much always followed USC and UCLA," he said. "They are both at home and right in my backyard. I have a love for them both, so I don't really separate them in my mind."

The Bruins were Pullard's first offer last September and UCLA was the only camp that Pullard went to this summer. "UCLA is silent, but deadly," he said. "You can't sleep on them. You never know what could happen."

UCLA, like Washington, is another program that is going through a rebuilding stage. "They are very serious about recruiting and building for the future," he said. "They recruited great last year and are recruiting really well this year too. The new coaches are only going after the cream of the crop."

Pullard is being recruited by Bruin linebacker coach Chuck Bullough and are one of the few schools recruiting him mostly for defense. "I talk with UCLA a lot," he said. "They also email me all the time and I know them pretty well.

"I like how he told me that I should come to UCLA and want to be the guy, not just a guy," he said. "He said that UCLA is about to blow up and he wants me there when they do."

Unlike the Bruins, the Trojans aren't so sure about which position Pullard will play. "I'm hearing from (linebackers) coach Ken Norton, Jr and (running backs) coach Todd McNair," he said. "They said they just want me to be a Trojan. They don't care what position I play."

Pullard admits he's also been very impressed with how the Trojans practice. "I've been to a few practices and I love it," he said. "It's very live. They're always moving and going. They are at 100 percent the whole time. It's like a game during practice.

"I also like how they've always got guys going into the NFL and they really try to make you better on and off the field," he said.

Pullard says he'd like to attend the USC vs. Notre Dame game in South Bend on October 17 and is trying to schedule his official visit to the Irish for that weekend. "I plan on having all of my official visits set before school starts," he said.

"I was really shocked when Notre Dame offered," Pullard said. "I just wasn't expecting it at all. But once they did I started doing a bunch of research on them and I'm real impressed that they have like a 98 percent grad rate. It's a great academic school and obviously the football tradition there is great."

Pullard admits he's more familiar with UCLA and USC than the others, but he's still very open and plans on taking his time before making a decision.

"I know a lot about UCLA and USC and I just need to learn more about the others now," he said. "I don't plan on committing until late January or right before signing day. I want to see what everyone has to offer and take all my visits. I really want to go through the whole process and get a feel for everyone."

So what is Pullard looking for in a program? "I want to feel a great vibe with the coaches," he said. "And I want to know they are on me and helping me get better so I can get to the next level."

Pullard admits he's got lofty goals for college. "I want to be the top player," he said. "I want to win the best linebacker award (Butkus Award) or even the Heisman. I want to be the best."

Playing both linebacker and running back as a junior, Pullard finished the season with 145 tackles, 22 tackles for loss, five sacks and four fumbles recovered. He also had 938 yard rushing and 146 yards receiving for a total of 11 touchdowns.

"I'm patient on the field and real humble," he said. "On offense, I respect the moves of the lineman and take the holes that open up.

"On defense I play with a high intensity," Pullard said. "I'm crazy…I'm a maniac on defense."

He says he can bench 290-pounds, squat 395 and claims a 36.5-inch vertical jump.

"I want to improve my open field tackling and am working on my hips and flexibility," he said.

Pullard also plays point guard/shooting guard for Crenshaw's basketball team (averages eight points, five assists and three steals per game). "Washington and Arizona State are recruiting me for both sports," he said. "I'm thinking a little about basketball. I'd consider doing both."

He plans on majoring in business management and reports a 3.5 core GPA and a 1200 SAT (three-parts).

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