Bullard makes his television debut at UGA
While the rest of the Baldwin High Class of 2021 was kicked back over the weekend and counting down the days to graduation, Javon Bullard was competing in big-time SEC football.
Bullard, an early enrollee and the first Milledgeville guy to sign with Georgia out of high school in more than 30 years, took part in the Dawgs’ annual G-Day scrimmage game at Sanford Stadium and did not disappoint, leading the squad in tackles with seven. With Georgia’s secondary facing more uncertainty than at any point in many years, Bullard has been thrown straight into the fire by Head Coach Kirby Smart and Defensive Backs Coach Jahmile Addae.
“Kirby’s already told Javon that he’s gonna have to play some corner(back) for them,” Baldwin Head Coach Jesse Hicks said earlier this week. “Personally, I think that Javon’s most natural position is safety or star (nickleback), but I certainly think that Javon has the ability to play all of them.”
Hicks said that Bullard quickly is learning that time management is everything for college football players. Bullard this semester is taking five classes (with three A’s and two B’s, according to Hicks) along with taking part in spring practice and off-season conditioning.
“(Bullard) told me that he hasn’t had a chance to see much of Athens and hasn’t really been downtown this whole semester,” Hicks said. “It’s an absolute grind at that level, and he’s learning it the hard way. But, Javon will be fine. His maturity level, he’ll be fine.”
Bullard ran with the second-string defense on Saturday, lining up at both cornerback and nickelback, which is more of a hybrid between cornerback and safety. Georgia refers to its nickelback position as the “star” position. Just as he did in high school, Bullard showed plenty of willingness to lower his shoulder pads and hit somebody, despite being undersized, relative to Georgia’s other defensive backs. On the team’s official roster, Bullard is listed at 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds, making him the second-lightest scholarship defensive back on the roster.
“Making that leap from high school to the SEC, Javon is definitely going to have to put on some more weight, but he already knows that,” Hicks said. “You could see it out there on the field on Saturday. This isn’t high school anymore.”
Hicks, who says that hi favorite college football team is Albany State, which is his alma mater, actually was a Florida Gators fan for a few unforgettable years, back in the day when Baldwin High graduate Maurice Hurt was playing for Florida. Although he’s now more of a tepid UGA fan, Hicks says that he’s very much looking forward to watching Bullard and the Dawgs play this fall.
“It’s a blessing,” the coach said. “I can’t wait.”