Beat writer names Bullard third-most impactful freshman
Photo by Tony Walsh and McKenzie Miles // University of Georgia Sports Information Department
Javon Bullard didn't have the most stars beside his name, and he wasn't the most ballyhooed recruit in Georgia's star-studded 2021 class.
That hasn’t stopped the Baldwin High grad from having one of the biggest impacts on the field, however. Bullard has appeared in every game this season with the exception of the Tennessee game, playing primarily on special teams. He saw extensive action at nickelback during the second half of several games this season, including the Georgia Charleston game, when he led the Dawgs in tackles. According to NCAA rules, a true freshman is allowed to play in four games without losing their redshirt. Bullard has appeared in 12 games, which means that he'll be a sophomore next season.
Bullard and most of his teammates flew down to Miami yesterday, all in preparation for Friday's CFP semifinal game against Michigan. Dawgs247 beat writer Jake Rowe recently ranked the 20 members of Georgia's true freshman class "based on 2021 impact," and Bullard came in at No. 3 on the list. Wrote Rowe:
There are freshmen who appeared in more games but none of the other defensive guys were as close to starting as Bullard. He appeared in 12 of 13 games and saw some meaningful snaps in those contests. He was the recipient of regular praise from Kirby Smart, who seems to have high hopes for the Milledgeville native. Bullard has yet to break up a pass or take a man down behind the line of scrimmage but he has piled up 12 total tackles on the year. He's worth keeping an eye on during bowl preparations as the UGA staff will conduct a few, if not several, camp-style practices to evaluate how much the young players have grown. Don't be surprised if he's more of a factor in the playoffs.
When Bullard inked his scholarship last December, he became the first Milledgeville guy to sign with UGA out of high school in roughly 35 years. When Bullard got on the field against Clemson earlier this season, he became the first Milledgeville guy to get in a game for Georgia since J.T. Wall in 2002.
Head Coach Kirby Smart several months ago answered a reporter's question about some of his squad's freshman players in the secondary, namely Bullard and fellow freshman Kamari Lassiter.
“(Bullard and Lassiter) have each gotten better at that, and you know, I tell them all the time I need more out of them on special teams, because that's where you kind of cut your teeth when you first get here,” the coach said. “What can I do on special teams? How can I help? And Kamari and Bullard have been really big assets on that, and we continue to work with those other guys."