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Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

John Bullock’s Mentality Unchanged Despite Scholarship Addition, Position Change

July 07, 2023

The decision—a self-described dream come true—came out of nowhere. John Bullock was told head coach Matt Rhule wanted to speak with him. He went to the meeting free of expectations. Rhule wanted to discuss Bullock’s future. The Creighton Prep graduate walked away from that talk with a scholarship.

“I didn’t expect it,” Bullock told Jessica Coody for a recent episode of Sports Nightly. “I’m not the one to really expect anything, I’m just here to work and get better every day.”

That mentality led to the junior’s move onto scholarship. Bullock is thriving in the linebacker room after coaches moved him from the secondary during the spring season. Linebacker coach Rob Dvoracek and defensive coordinator Tony White both complimented him in that spot during spring. Rhule promoted Bullock and tight end Nate Boerkircher to scholarship as a result of their work ethics. In fact, Bullock was named to the first “The Ten”—a reference to the top 10% of elite workers.

Coody asked Bullock if his move from walk-on to scholarship Husker changes his approach. He responded that he’s still the same person. Of course, the expectation raises. And he’s aware he’ll need to be more detail-oriented in order to become a better role model for younger players. He acknowledged the leadership of linebackers Luke Reimer and Nick Henrich, fellow homegrown Huskers who provide guidance for new faces in the room. Both were limited during spring practices but stayed active on the sidelines to help their teammates. Their collective push, a rising tide in the linebacker room, hopes to raise the defensive boats and eventually carry over to the other side of the ball.

Bullock also expects to play special teams again. And he’s more than willing—anything to help the team. He played 10 games on special teams last season, including making a tackle on kick coverage against Purdue. He appeared on special teams in every game the year prior, tallying five tackles. The third phase of the game carries personal sentimentality to the former Junior Jay.

“Sometimes I feel special teams is looked over and people don’t pay attention enough to it as they should,” Bullock said. “For me, special teams is very important. As important as offense or defense. It’s not something I took lightly and I worked for it every day.”

He called special teams coordinator Ed Foley a fiery coach, one who brings the juice. That drive is contagious among the special teams unit and across the practice field. Bullock also enjoys learning under Dvoracek, a smart coach who holds an eye for details. It’s easy to take coaching from him, Bullock explained. He also holds a high opinion of White. Bullock wasn’t sure exactly what the 3-3-5 defense was upon White’s hiring. But when someone told him, it sounded a lot like a defense he’d thrive in. He likes the freedom and speed, plus the physicality.

That could be why Bullock is ready to hit the field again, on scholarship for the school he grew up cheering, playing next to his teammates. They shared news of his arrival on scholarship with him, something the Omaha native will treasure forever.

“I just try to work as hard as I can all the time,” he said. “It sounds very cliché but that’s just the truth. I try to give it my all, play with my teammates. That’s just my mindset going through it: Just give it my all playing with my teammates, for them, for me.”

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