August 24, 2011

Five-star loving Gainesville

Shelby (N.C.) Crest defensive end Jonathan Bullard is still a few weeks away from naming a final five, but the five-star standout took his second visit to Gainesville to see the Florida Gators and hints at a few schools that will certainly make the cut.

"I went back to Florida for my second visit mainly for my mom," said the 6-foot-4, 255-pounder. "She wanted to see things so the coaches showed us around. We saw a little bit of a scrimmage but missed most of it because my game was a late one Friday and it's a long trip, but we got to spend a lot of time with the coaches and saw more about Florida than just football."

Bullard spent a lot of time with head coach Will Muschamp and defensive line coach and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn on the trip.

"It was good because I got to speak to them a lot more and my mom got to meet them," he said. "My mom is leaving the decision up to me and said she would get to Florida for my games one way or another, but I wanted her to see it and meet them. Coach Muschamp and coach Quinn were up front, they didn't promise anything.

"They said I would have an opportunity to come in and compete early because they have defensive tackles playing defensive end because they are thin on the outside. Coach Quinn was in the NFL for 10 years so he has a lot of experience which I like. I got to see the competition I'd be facing, how they'd use me and all of that. But I also saw where I'd be living, what there is to do around town and all of the non-football stuff which was great."

Bullard went down on the visit with friend and fellow U.S. Army All American Carlos Watkins as well, but the two aren't a package deal.

"We're visiting schools together because we have a lot of the same offers," he said. "If we could play together, great, but it's not something we are worried about. We just happen to want to see the same places."

Bullard said the visit certainly helped Florida although he's not naming a leader at this time.

"I learned a lot more about Florida and my mom learned a lot as well so it was good," he said. "I'll go back there for an official visit, it will be one of my five, I just haven't set it up yet. But Florida will be there until the end."

Bullard has one official visit set as he will visit Nebraska on Oct. 7, the weekend they host Ohio State. He gave a sneak peak at three of the schools that will make his final five.

"Nebraska will because I have that official visit set up, I am really interested in the program and I like the way they produce defensive linemen. Florida will make it as well, especially after this visit. And South Carolina will be in there too, they are close to home and recruiting really well. After that I'm not sure about my other two."

What schools are vying to get into that final five?

"Clemson and Tennessee are in there," he said. "I've been to Clemson a few times and I visited Tennessee as well and I liked it there. Alabama is also in there as well, I like coach Rumph and I am also interested in Miami and Ohio State although both of them are in trouble. I want to see what happens to them before I go any further, but I liked them both before all of this stuff happened. I'll figure it out within the next two weeks about the last two schools and will set up my other officials soon."

Bullard said there are no leaders at this time.

"I am staying open," he said. "I still have a lot of visits to take and some figuring out to do. I'm trying to compare them all and see which ones I like the best."

His teammate, safety Rhaheim Ledbetter, is already committed to Florida leading many to speculate that the Gators are his top team.

"It won't really be a factor," he said. "We both know we have to do what is right for us and for our family. Rhaheim didn't come down on the visit or anything, I'm going to pick the school that is the best fit overall.



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