Bullard breaks 35-year Milledgeville-to-Athens drought
During Jesse Hicks’ coaching tenure at Baldwin High, there have been multiple football players sign with SEC and ACC universities. Maurice Hurt signed with Florida. Nick Kyles signed with Alabama. Jarvis Kyles signed with Mississippi State Corico Hawkins signed with Clemson, while Jatavious Harris signed with Louisville.
Never before, however, had the home state Georgia Bulldogs come calling. Until now.
Javon Bullard, a senior wide receiver/defensive back at BHS, announced on Twitter Monday that he has verbally committed to the University of Georgia. Bullard will not be able to sign his scholarship until late December, as mandated by the NCAA. Bullard primarily played free safety and wide receiver last season for the Braves, although he projects as a cornerback at the college level.
Bullard’s decision on Monday aligned with the birthday of his older sister – Jamesia Bullard.
“That’s just brother and sister love right there. You can’t replace that,” Javon Bullard told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I didn’t mean to drop it or commit on her birthday but it all just kind of happened like that. It is a big moment for me but also for her on a special day like this, too.”
Bullard also is poised to break a long drought on the Milledgeville-Baldwin County football scene. Not since 1985 has a local football player signed with UGA out of high school. That player was BHS wide receiver John Thomas, who went on to become one of the leading receivers for the Bulldogs in the late ’80s. Offensive lineman Greg O’Neal, another BHS product, played on scholarship for Georgia in the early 1990s, although he first took the junior college route. In the early 2000s, meanwhile, J.T. Wall, a 1998 John Milledge Academy graduate, walked on to the UGA football team as a junior before eventually earning a scholarship. In terms of of a local football player being put on scholarship at Georgia directly out of high school, however, it’s been 35 years.
According to the AJC article, Bullard already has accumulated enough credits to graduate from high school and currently is taking college classes at Georgia Military College.
Added the AJC article: “Bullard might be one of the most out-of-the-blue August commitments of the Kirby Smart era. Those that follow Georgia recruiting very closely might have known his name but he might be one of those DB targets they knew the least about.”
Until now, Bullard indeed was an under-the-radar prospect. Very few recruiting pundits predicted that Bullard would sign with Georgia until this weekend. Bullard currently ranks at the 71st-ranked senior prospect in Georgia and the No. 66 cornerback in the country. Many prospects, however, typically receive a bump in their recruiting rankings after committing to a school like Georgia or Alabama or Clemson, and Bullard’s stock is expected to rise in the coming months.
Nevertheless, Bullard currently is the lowest-ranked prospect among UGA’s 13 current commits. The Bulldogs, however, have a recent precedent for identifying under-the-radar cornerback prospects. Eric Stokes, a senior cornerback for Georgia and All-SEC candidate, was a low 3-star prospect coming out of high school in Covington.
Hicks, now in his third different decade coaching at Baldwin, had so many flattering things to say about Bullard that the AJC had to use bullet points. Hicks, who is never shy with the media, told the paper that Bullard “is what you want in a son,” “the picture beside the word ‘student-athlete’ in the dictionary,” as well as “what you you want in a person.”