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Posted: June 7, 2014 10:00 p.m.

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Flying for football

Alcovy grad gets full ride to Air Force

An Alcovy High School graduate’s hard work in the classroom and on the field paid off when the United States Air Force came calling.

Robert Bullard accepted a full-ride football scholarship to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy in the fall, an education valued at an estimated $416,000, according to the Academy’s public affairs office.

The Tigers’ defensive cornerback admitted the Academy was not initially on his radar until a recruiting coach contacted him in his junior year of high school.

“The more I learned about the Air Force Academy, the more I learned of all the good things I could get attending there,” Bullard said.

He said once he set his sights on the Academy, he focused on continuing to make good grades and staying on top of his academics.

“I wanted to be the best student athlete I could be,” Bullard said.
Even though he was busy with football and schoolwork, he still made time for the FBLA Club and the Distinguished Gentlemen’s Club.

“Robert has demonstrated a commitment to the total school program here at Alcovy,” said Kirk Hoffman, Alcovy’s football coach. “As a football coach, nothing pleases me more than seeing my athletes excel on both the field and in the classroom.

“Robert is intelligent, athletic, hard-working and friendly. He shows equal persistence and dedication in his athletic endeavors as he does in his academic work. He has earned and deserves the honors that he has achieved on and off the playing field. I truly believe that Robert will make Alcovy proud as he takes his athletic talent to the Air Force Academy next year.”

Bullard said he already has his future goals mapped out.

“When I go to the Academy, I want to get my degree in business while playing football, which is a love of mine,” Bullard said. “I want to get a good education and a good job and provide for my family.”

He will attend the Academy prep school his first year then transfer to the Academy for the remaining four years. When he graduates, Bullard will be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. Ultimately, he said his goal is to gain a job in contracting for the Air Force.

Bullard said he hasn’t decided if he wants to pursue a full 20-year career with the Air Force because he also has aspirations to play professional football.

“I know I have the abilities to make it far,” Bullard said. “In the Air Force, you have to wait two years after you graduate before you can get into the NFL. So if it goes like I want it to, I can see myself doing that.”

He said when he thinks about it, attending the Air Force Academy is a “no-brainer.”

“It’s amazing,” Bullard said. “I don’t have to pay anything, I’ll get a great education, and I get to play a sport I love – it’s just a dream come true.”

Military service is nothing new to Bullard’s family, he said. His grandfather was in the U.S. Army, and two uncles and one cousin served in the U.S. Air Force. His mother, Natasha Bullard, said the entire family is excited for her son and his incredible opportunity to attend the Academy and ultimately serve his country.

“Robert excels in everything that he does,” said Sandra Owens, Alcovy High School’s principal. “His accomplishments at Alcovy High School have opened the door of opportunity to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy. I know he will be successful there, and this family plus the Alcovy community are very proud of him.”

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