2014 Spartan Linebacker Byron Bullough Stays Humble as He Enters His Senior Campaign
If there was ever a player with football in his blood, it is Byron Bullough. The latest of a long line of football players to choose Michigan State and the third son of Shane Bullough to become a Spartan, Byron is standing on the shoulders of giants. But though his family history puts great expectations upon him, Byron is a special player in his own right who looks to make his own impact in East Lansing.
The tradition started back in the 1950’s with Byron’s grandfather, Hank Bullough. A guard during his three-year career at MSU, Hank sent two of his sons to East Lansing. Shane became a fearsome linebacker, playing from 1983-86. Shane’s brother, Chuck, followed in his footsteps, playing linebacker at Michigan State from 1988-91.
Max became the first of the third generation of Bullough’s to attend Michigan State. Just like his father Shane, Max debuted at linebacker. Since his arrival on campus in 2010, Max has struck fear in many Big Ten running backs and quarterbacks. During his three seasons at Michigan State, the eldest of Shane’s three sons has accumulated 223 tackles and 21 tackles for loss. During his junior campaign alone, the first-team All-Big Ten selection racked up 111 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks. Riley joined Max last season, redshirting his freshman year. Just like his older brother, Riley has a great work ethic that will suit him well, regardless of whether he plays running back or linebacker.
Even before the start of his junior season at St. Francis High School in Traverse City, Michigan, Byron Bullough was getting attention from a number of major college programs. Michigan, Indiana, and Purdue were among those to show interested in the versatile young athlete. But early last August, Byron made up his mind, way before most recruits do, and chose Michigan State. Calling it the “best thing to ever happen in my life so far,” Byron chose to follow his two brothers, dad, and grandfather to East Lansing.
Nearly a year later, Byron has no regrets about his decision. He recently joined Hondo S. Carpenter, Sr. on Spartan Nation Radio to talk about his family, football, and preparing himself for next fall.
Described as part Max and part Riley, but all Byron, the youngest Bullough has a mix of skills that could place him at any number of positions at Michigan State. A versatile player who has played both running back and linebacker, the high school senior is a valuable member of MSU’s 2014 recruiting class. With so much ability, it would be hard for anyone to pinpoint the best part of Byron’s game. Asked to do just that, Byron said: “I think I have great athleticism and ball skills to go up and get the ball against anyone. Also, I feel like this year I’ll be bigger than most of my competition on the field. I’ll be able to show my strength and really, really get into people. That’s what I’m looking forward to doing this season.”
Much of Byron’s ability comes from his love of the weight room and his incessant work ethic. A lot of his talent, however, can be traced back to his great genes. The Bullough family has football in its blood. But don’t overlook his mom’s side of the family. “My grandpa played at Notre Dame, [and also] played in the CFL. One of my uncles played at Notre Dame. They won a national championship while they were there. And of course, my Uncle Bobby played at Michigan State and had a few years in the NFL as well,” Byron said. “That side doesn’t get looked at quite as much as my dad’s side, but it’s spectacular as well.”
The 6’1, 220 pound athlete is a gracious young man. He is thankful not only for his parents, but also for his family as a whole. “It’s just an honor to be a part of my family. Not only the football aspect, but we’re a great family and it feels great to be a part of it,” Bryon said. “It’s something special to be named a Bullough and I just hope to carry on the tradition of our name.”
One quality Byron has acquired from his family is leadership. The first commit of MSU’s 2014 recruiting class, the youngest Bullough has brought together his fellow recruits. “I just try to pride myself as a leader even if I wasn’t the first commit. I’m just trying to lead the guys to coming to Michigan State so we can have an even better recruiting class coming in.” The Traverse City native is proud to be part of MSU’s class of talented student-athletes. “We’re close, we talk all the time. It’s exciting. It’s fun. I’m really excited to play with these guys.”
To prepare for his first season in East Lansing with his fellow Spartans, Bullough has been putting in a lot of time over the summer. The youngster was even called a “freak” in the weight room by one person at his school. “I don’t know if I would call myself a freak,” Byron chuckled, “But I try to get in there as much as I can, put in the work and just get out of it as much as I can.”
A leader for the St. Francis Gladiators, Bullough is concentrating on taking his team back to the state championship. “Playing at St. Francis, [with a] storied tradition, winning state championships is always the goal, number one. Last year we had a tough season, one of the toughest in years. It was embarrassing, it really was,” Bullough said. “This year our senior class is going to be strong. We’re determined.”
To accomplish such a lofty goal, the standout linebacker wants to further improve as a leader. Byron wants to become a player who his teammates can rely on for a big play during crunch time. “I just want to be more of a playmaker. I just want to be more aggressive, whether it’s blocking or tackling,” Bullough said. “[I want to] lead on and off the field, doing everything right that I can and just try to make plays for the team. I don’t really have one specific area that I’m focusing on. There’s so much room for improvement that there’s so much to focus on.”
Even with his senior season in front of him, Byron has to force himself to concentrate on the present. The idea that he will be a Spartan in a little over a year is quite exciting for the youngest member of a family that bleeds Green and White. “I try not to think about it as much because I still have one more year left of high school football. But it’s definitely too hard to not look forward to it,” he said. “It does feel like forever, but the time will come soon enough. Right now I’m just focusing on what I can in high school.”
One of Michigan State’s top catches of the 2014 recruiting class, Byron Bullough is a young, talented linebacker with great genes and exciting athleticism. The third of three Bullough boys to choose MSU, Byron will fit in right away in East Lansing. “Being a Spartan is just incredibly special to me. It’s something I’ve wanted to become since I was a little kid. Playing in the Big Ten has been something that I’ve always hoped for,” Byron said. “Just to know I have the opportunity to represent Michigan State and represent the Big 10 in what I do is really awesome. Being a Spartan is just something I’ve always wanted to do…I can’t wait to represent and be a Spartan.”