Interview: Justin Bullard

Justin Bullard, a 2006 safety-receiver prospect from Stanhope Elmore High School Millbrook, AL talked with VandyMania about his visit to Vanderbilt during junior day festivities.

VandyMania: What are some of the things that attract you to the Vanderbilt? What position are the coaches talking to you about playing at Vanderbilt?
Justin Bullard: A couple of the things that attract me to Vanderbilt is 1) The quality of the education I would receive. Football won't last forever, but the education I receive will. 2) The possibility of getting some play action on the field early. I'm a hard-hitting, physical safety and I think I can contribute early to the team's needs in the secondary. 3) The coaches. When I went to Junior Day, each coach came up and spoke to me one-on-one for a long time.... that impressed me because I felt like the really wanted me. Also, I like the stability they have with their coaches and I like to know that the coaches that recruit me are going to be there for a while. The positions I am being talked to about are safety or wide receiver, but mostly at safety.

VandyMania: What schools are recruiting you the heaviest? Which ones have offered you? Which ones are your favorites?
Justin Bullard: A I'm getting a lot of mail from many colleges but the ones that I'm getting the most from are Vanderbilt, LSU, and Clemson. Tennessee, Arkansas and Georgia Tech come in even right behind that. I don't have any offers yet, but I expect I'll have some after I attend summer camps. I got the feeling that some were close to offering me, but some said they wanted to see me during evaluation and at the camps first. The camps I'll be attending are the Army All American Regional Combine in Auburn on 4/30; the Nike Camp on 5/14; the MSL Camp on 5/21; and then I'll camp at Vanderbilt, Alabama, Mississippi State, So. Miss., FSU, and Auburn. I may end up at LSU and Georgia in July if they have a mini-camp. As for favorites, I can't say I have any real favorites. I've always been big on Alabama, but when it gets right down to it at this point everyone is even in my book. I'm going to take some time and really evaluate each school. Since I've already taken in Alabama, Auburn, Vanderbilt, and just got back from the Orange and White game at Tennessee, I've had the opportunity to look at each of those; their facilities, coaches, and general atmosphere and I'll be able to start adding and comparing other schools as I take my camps this summer. Right now I've decided it's too early in the process to start listing favorites but obviously when I get an offer, that will probably change.

VandyMania: What kind of things did you do at Vanderbilt Junior day?
Justin Bullard: When we got signed in, we were served an awesome meal. It was something else. Their chef, Magic, had a huge spread of food, including roast beef, boiled shrimp, chicken tenders, chicken wings, cheese and fruit trays, and different cakes, muffins and croissants. I'm sure there was more, but that's all I can remember. Then Coach Johnson spoke and introduced the rest of the coaches. After that we divided up and I was in Coach Fisher's group and he gave us a tour and we saw the nice facilities and the practice field and the weight room. One thing I liked was that I got the impression that they were all like one big family.

VandyMania: What were some of the postseason honors you received after your junior season?
Justin Bullard: I made 1st team Defense All-County; All-Metro Honorable Mention; and was nominated for the North-South game. Pat Patrick Promotions of "The Best in High School Football" also honored me.

VandyMania: What's your max bench, 40 speed?
Justin Bullard: As of a couple of weeks ago my max bench was up to 250, squat 450, clean 240, but it may be more than that because I have been working out hard in the off season. I've put on at least 20 pounds since last fall, and want to put on at least around 15 more. As for my 40, when I went to the Southeastern Combine last year they timed me at 4.5, but that was on a wet field. I'll know for sure when I go to the camps this year.

VandyMania: What other sports do you play and how have you been doing in those sports?
Justin Bullard: I used to play baseball a couple of years ago, but I just like football so much that I put everything I have into it. In the off-season I'm concentrating on putting on muscle in the weight room, and in improving my mechanics and technique. I really don't have time for other sports. If I played baseball, I wouldn't have time to go to camps and do what I need to do to improve as a football player.

VandyMania: Describe what you think was your greatest accomplishment (a play you made) on the football field during your junior season?
Justin Bullard: My greatest accomplishment (I wouldn't say it's a specific play) would have to be my ability to remain poised and keep my composure in a game where our team just fell apart at the seams. Our record was 12-2, only losing to two teams: One ended up being the State Champ in our class 5A, and the other was the runner up in the class 6A Championship. Both were tough on us, but making it to the 5A semi-finals and then watching as that dream of making it to the state championship go up in smoke--- that was hard on us. Mistakes just snowballed and unfortunately, some of our guys ended up letting their frustrations get the best of them, which only made a bad situation worse. Throughout all of it though, I kept my focus, I did my job, and I didn't let the situation control me. And finally in what would have been a blowout game against us, I was put in on offense and scored two touchdowns on deep passes and a two-point conversion-- all in the final six minutes of the game. We didn't win, but at least we made the score respectable. Later, I got to talk to their coach and shake his hand, sometimes you can learn more by losing than by winning. As for a specific play, I wouldn't say this one is really an accomplishment as much as it's one to remember. In a regular season game, the other team's quarterback threw a pass to a receiver across the middle and I popped him hard. He was actually knocked out on his feet and they said he fell like a tree. He was out cold for probably 10 minutes or so before they finally got him off the field. After that, some started calling me "Thunder" because of the "boom" they said they heard when I hit him. Others started calling me "Lightning" because of my speed. That's probably one of my biggest strengths.... I'm a fast, aggressive, and physical hitter.

VandyMania: What coach from Vanderbilt is recruiting you?
Justin Bullard: Coach Fisher is my area coach and is the one I hear from all the time.

VandyMania: Justin, thanks for taking the time to speak with us.

Justin Bullard

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