Steelers 2014 NFL Draft Player Profiles – Michigan State LB Max Bullough
Good friend Dave-Te’ Thomas of Scouting Services has finished his player profiles of several of the top 2014 NFL Draft prospects and over the course of the next few weeks I will be posting the ones that the Pittsburgh Steelers will more than likely have interest in. While Michigan State LB Max Bullough apparently hasn’t been brought in for a pre draft visit, the Steelers have reportedly shown a lot of interest in him, so today we will post his profile. Thomas has done these profiles for the NFL for several years and I know that many of you enjoy reading them.
Michigan State University Spartans
Traverse City, Michigan
St. Francis Catholic High School
Michigan State fans have enjoyed watching Bullough offspring perform in their stadium for the last three generations. While their three-year starter leaves the university ranked 11th in school annals with 30.5 tackles-for-loss and 18th with 299 tackles, the family ties to the Spartans football program will continue, as Max’s brother, Riley, was a red-shirt freshman running back last season.
Max’s grandfather, Hank, was the first member of the Bullough family to play for Michigan State, competing as an offensive guard from 1952-54. Hank was a member of the 2013 MSU Athletics Hall of Fame Class. Max’s father, Shane, followed, performing as a line-backer for the Spartans from 1983-86, serving as squad captain during his senior season.
Max’s other grandfather, Jim Morse, was a halfback (1954-56) who played for head coach Terry Brennan at Notre Dame. His uncle, Chuck Bullough, was a Michigan State, line-backer (1988-91). His maternal uncles, Bobby Morse (Michigan State, running back, 1983-86) and Jim Morse (Notre Dame, cornerback, 1976-77) also played college football.
The finance major stepped into the starting lineup for the Spartans as a sophomore, leading the team in tackles for each of his first two seasons in the lineup. The hard-hitting defensive signal-caller ranks seventh among active NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision players with 178 assisted tackles among his 299 total stops.
Bullough ranks eleventh among that group with 21 assisted tackles-for-loss (20 solos) and ranks 29th in total tackles. He is tied for 11th in school annals with 30.5 stops-for-loss and rank 18th on the MSU career-record chart in total tackles.
The middle linebacker has demonstrated throughout his gridiron career that he has a great feel for the game and instincts for the position. He is quick to locate the ball and is a sure tackler who has a knack for making plays and is solid in coverage. He is able to take on multiple blockers and is called by the coaching staff “a high character, motivated, hard working kid,” despite seeing his team finish a banner 2013 campaign while serving a Rose Bowl suspension.
“My standing regarding Michigan State is great,” Bullough said. “What I’ve done here the past four years, what this team has done, what Coach D [head coach Mark Dantonio] has done, my standing is great. I love my teammates, they love me, same with the coaching staff.”
The former Michigan State middle linebacker said he has answered questions from every NFL team about the suspension that caused him to miss the Spartans’ first appearance in Pasadena since 1988. He said it was something he knows he brought on himself. ”It was a mistake that I made and I apologized to my team, I talked to my team,” he said. “I’m past that. Myself and my team, the (NFL) teams, Coach D, we’re all past that. We are moving forward.
”They’re not worried about the Rose Bowl last year, they’re worried next year.” Focused on his future destination, Bullough has been working out in California since the Rose Bowl. ”I’ve been working hard and doing everything,” he said. “I was training for the combine for a while only I didn’t have to do all of it here, so I’ve been training the past few weeks and I think it’s paid off.”
After being at the NFL Combine in late February, he cut down his 40-yard dash time from a 4.78 to an unofficial 4.69. Taking part in some of the drills as well during Mixchigan State’s recent Pro Day, he said he has is not concerned with projections. Instead, he is focused on what he can control. ”I just worry about getting better, working hard, bending my knees and getting my hips low and where I go, I go,” he said.
One of the things he has been working on is keeping at a good playing weight after reportedly showing up the East-West Shrine Game at 265 pounds – 20 pounds more than his playing weight at Michigan State.
”Leading up to that game, I was lifting a lot, I was eating a lot, wasn’t running very much because I was doing the technique of all drills and that’s something I haven’t really been a part of,” he said. “I’ve always either been in season, winter conditioning or summer conditioning, so I thought I could eat like that and I can’t. I think I’ve prove I have the discipline not.
”I love the routine I’m in now. I feel like I’m much better at 248 than I ever was when I played here. I really think I can be a different player at the NFL.” But no matter where he goes – and despite missing the final game of his career – he said he was excited to be back in East Lansing and to be back in the future.
”I’m a Spartan,” he said. “I’ve been a Spartan since I was a kid, I’ll be a Spartan forever. Some of my best friends are here. Coach D has been a father figure to me. This is a place I’ll always hold dear to my heart my whole life.”
His head coach backed Bullough 100 percent. “Max Bullough belongs at Michigan State,” Dantonio said. “He’s a Spartan and I love him. He’s a football player and a very controlling factor on the field. I think (NFL) people understand that and will look at that aspect.”
Before donning the Spartans uniform, Bullough was a Super Prep, Prep Star and Max Preps All-American selection at St. Francis Catholic High School. He was ranked among the nation’s top linebackers by Super Prep (14th) and Phil Steele (17th). He was listed among the country’s top inside linebackers by Scouts, Inc. (4th) and Rivals.com (5th) and rated among the nation’s top middle linebackers by Scout.com (5th) and Max Emfinger (11th).
Bullough led the Gladiators to back-to-back state titles, as the Division VII Player of the Year selection by the Associated Press anchored a defensive unit that allowed only 5.9 points per game in 2009. He recorded 137 tackles (71 solos), including four sacks (39 yards), and three interceptions as a senior. He also forced two fumbles, recovered one fumble and blocked a field-goal attempt in 2009.
Bullough was a versatile player also saw action at fullback and tight end, as he rushed 40 times for 466 yards (11.7 avg) and four touchdowns, along with coming up with 13 catches for 174 yards (13.4 avg.) and seven touchdowns in 2009. He scored on a 31-yard reception in the second quarter, posted 11 tackles and returned an interception 20 yards to set up a third-quarter touchdown in a 42 8 victory over Hudson in the 2009 Division VII state championship game.
The previous season, Bullough produced 102 tackles as a junior, including five sacks. He ran 23 times for 182 yards (7.9 avg) and four touchdowns and also caught 17 passes for 211 yards (12.4 avg) and three scores that campaign. He had tallied 97 tackles as a sophomore, with 23 resulting in losses, including four sacks. In the classroom, he was an Academic All-State choice and named the recipient of the Ron Holland Scholar-Athlete Award as the Detroit Free Press Dream Team member with the highest grade-point average (3.96).
Named to ESPN’s Freshman All-Big Ten Conference team in 2010, Bullough appeared in thirteen games as a reserve middle linebacker for Michigan State. He made 23 tackles and returned an interception 20 yards for the Spartans. He took over middle linebacker chores in 2011, leading the squad with 89 tackles that included 3.5 sacks, six QB pressures and seven stops-for-loss to earn All-Big Ten Conference second-team honors.
The following season, Bullough again paced MSU with 111 tackles and 12.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage, as both figures ranked ninth in the league. The Butkus Award semi-finalist and All-Big Ten first-team pick was also an All-American honorable mention as a junior. The team captain also received Academic All-American recognition.
The consensus All-Big Ten Conference first-team pick and All-American third-team choice started the first thirteen games of the 2013 campaign. He ranked third on the squad with 76 tackles and 9.5 stops-for-loss, adding ten pressures, including three that resulted in interceptions. With a 3.56 grade point average in finance, he was also added to the CoSIDA/Capital One Academic All-American team.
In 53 games at Michigan State, Bullough started forty times at middle linebacker, ranking 18th in school history with 299 tackles (121 solos) and tied William Gholston (2010-12) for 11th in MSU annals with 30.5 stops for losses of 103 yards … Registered eight sacks for minus 51 yards and nineteen quarterback pressures … Gained 24 yards on three pass thefts and deflected eight other tosses … Also caused four fumbles … In postseason action, Bullough collected fourteen tackles in three bowl games (tied for the team lead with nine tackles in the 2012 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl vs. Texas Christian; had three tackles vs. Georgia in the 2012 Outback Bowl; posted two stops in the 2011 Capital One Bowl vs. Alabama.)
Bullough received third-team All-American honors from the Associated Press and was a first-team All-Big Ten Conference choice by the league’s coaches and media … Became just the third Spartan under head coach Mark Dantonio to be named a captain at least twice (Greg Jones, 2009-10; Kirk Cousins 2009-11) … Named to the National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Class and was one of sixteen finalists for the Campbell Trophy, which is awarded to the NFF Scholar-Athlete of the Year … Also named one of twenty quarterfinalists for the Lott IMPACT Trophy and was selected for the CoSIDA/ Capital One Academic All-America first-team (3.56 grade point average in finance) … Ranked third on the team with 76 tackles (25 solos) and 9.5 stops for losses of 26 yards that included 1.5 sacks for minus 10 yards … Added ten quarterback pressures, two pass deflections and a forced fumble … Recorded three tackles, including a half sack (3 yards), in the Big Ten Championship Game vs. Ohio State … Tallied nine tackles, including a 2-yard loss, on Senior Day vs. Minnesota … Compiled nine tackles vs. Nebraska and was named CBSSports.com National Co-Defensive Player of the Week after helping limit Michigan to a school-record low minus-48 yards rushing, as he posted five tackles and had two QB pressures vs. the Wolverines … Added five tackles, including an assist on a fourth-and-goal play at Illinois and was named Big Ten Player of the Week after recording a season-high 10 tackles, including two for losses and a 7-yard sack, vs. Purdue, as he also forced a fumble on his sack of Boilermaker quarterback Danny Etling, which was returned for a touchdown by Denicos Allen … Registered four stops, including a 1-yard loss, and had a team-best three QB pressures vs. Indiana, followed by six tackles at Iowa and seven tackles at Notre Dame … Led the team with nine tackles, including 2.5 for losses (7 yards) vs. Western Michigan.
Bullough received first-team All-Big Ten Conference honors from the league’s coaches and was a second-team pick by the media … Started all thirteen games at middle line-backer, as the team captain was also selected honorable mention All-American by Pro Football Weekly … One of 12 semifinalists for the Butkus Award and one of 20 quarter-finalists for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, he was named to the Capital One Academic All-America Second Team, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America, for his 3.73 GPA in finance … Was also an Academic All-Big Ten selection for the second-straight year … Recipient of the team’s Outstanding Underclass Back Award (defense), Biggie Munn Award (most inspirational player) and Iron Man Award (strength and conditioning) … Led the team in tackles for the second-straight year with a career-high 111 stops (51 solos), which ranked ninth in the Big Ten (8.5 avg.), as he recorded double-figure tackles in four games … Ranked second on the team and tied for ninth in the Big Ten with 12.5 tackles for loss (45 yards) … Produced at least a half tackle for loss in each of the last eight games … Tied for the team lead with nine tackles in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl vs. Texas Christian and was named to the ESPN.com Big Ten All-Bowl Team … Posted a team-high seven stops at Minnesota, including a 1-yard loss and collected eight tackles, including an assisted sack that resulted in a safety, vs. Northwestern … Tallied 10 stops, including a 2-yard loss, vs. Nebraska and recorded career highs in tackles for loss (2.5 for 15 yards) and sacks (2.0 for 14 yards) while collecting a team-high nine stops in the overtime win at Wisconsin … Posted 10 tackles, including a 4-yard loss, broke up two passes and had an interception at Michigan and produced 11 stops, including a 2-yard loss, vs. Iowa … Had nine tackles, including a 1-yard loss, at Indiana and tallied a season-high 12 tackles (8 solos, 4 assists) and forced a fumble vs. Ohio State … Collected nine tackles, including a 4-yard loss, vs. Eastern Michigan and posted five stops and a pass break-up vs. Notre Dame … Had five tackles at Central Michigan, including a 10-yard loss …
Led the team with seven tackles, including 1.5 for losses (3 yards), in the season-opening win over Boise State.
Bullough received second-team All-Big Ten Conference honors from the league’s coaches and honorable mention selection by the media … Selected to the CollegeFootballNews.com All-Sophomore Team (second team) and named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District V Team … Was also an Academic All-Big Ten selection and presented the scholar-athlete award at the Spartan Academic Excellence Gala for having the highest GPA on the team for players who have reached at least junior academic status … Took over full-time middle linebacker chores, as he led the team with 89 tackles (36 solos) and ranked second in production points (268) … Posted seven stops for losses of 27 yards that included 3.5 sacks for minus 22 yards … Added six QB pressures, an interception, two pass break-ups and a pair of forced fumbles … Collected six tackles and had two quarterback pressures in the Big Ten Championship Game vs. Wisconsin … Tied for the team high with eight tackles, including a 1-yard sack, to go along with a forced fumble and a pass break-up in a win at Northwestern … Tallied a game-high 13 tackles, including a season-best two for losses (11 yards) with a 10-yard sack, in victory at Iowa … Added eight tackles, including one for a 2-yard loss, and a quarterback pressure in win over Minnesota and registered eight tackles, including one for a loss (5 yards), and forced a fumble in the win over Michigan … Led the team with nine tackles, including a 7-yard sack, in a win at Ohio State and recorded a career-high 15 tackles vs. Youngstown State to earn Spartan Defensive Player of the Week honors
Bullough was Named to ESPN.com’s Big Ten Conference All-Freshman Team … Saw action in all thirteen games as a true freshman and registered 23 tackles (9 solos), including 1.5 for losses (5 yards) … Tied for second on the team with 13 tackles on special teams.
No injuries listed.
4.78 in the 40-yard dash … 1.65 10-yard dash … 2.78 20-yard dash … 4.30 20-yard shuttle … 7.22 three-cone drill … 31-inch vertical jump … 9’-4” broad jump … Bench pressed 225 pounds 30 times (tied Khairi Fortt of California for the best performance in this event among linebackers attending the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine, as that lift was also 11th-best for any linebacker at a Combine in the last ten years)31-inch arm length … 9 3/8-inch hands … 75 3/8-inch wingspan.
Bullough attended St. Francis (Traverse City, Mich.) Catholic High School, playing football for head coach Greg Vaughn … Super Prep, Prep Star and Max Preps All-American pick … Ranked among the nation’s top linebackers by Super Prep (14th) and Phil Steele (17th) …
Listed among the country’s top inside linebackers by Scouts, Inc. (4th) and Rivals.com (5th) and rated among the nation’s top middle linebackers by Scout.com (5th) and Max Emfinger (11th) … Led the Gladiators to back-to-back state titles, as the Division VII Player of the Year selection by the Associated Press anchored a defensive unit that allowed only 5.9 points per game in 2009 … Recorded 137 tackles (71 solos), including four sacks (39 yards), and three interceptions as a senior … Also forced two fumbles, recovered one fumble and blocked a field-goal attempt in 2009 … Was a versatile player also saw action at fullback and tight end, as he rushed 40 times for 466 yards (11.7 avg) and four touch-downs, along with coming up with 13 catches for 174 yards (13.4 avg.) and seven touch-downs in 2009 … Scored on a 31-yard reception in the second quarter, posted 11 tackles and returned an interception 20 yards to set up a third-quarter touchdown in a 42 8 victory over Hudson in the 2009 Division VII state championship game … The previous season, Bullough produced 102 tackles as a junior, including five sacks … Ran 23 times for 182 yards (7.9 avg) and four touchdowns and also caught 17 passes for 211 yards (12.4 avg) and three scores that campaign … Tallied 97 tackles as a sophomore, with 23 resulting in losses, including four sacks … In the classroom, he was an Academic All-State choice and named the recipient of the Ron Holland Scholar-Athlete Award as the Detroit Free Press Dream Team member with the highest grade-point average (3.96).
Bullough is a Finance major, earning Academic All-Big Ten Conference, All-District and All-American honors … Son of LeeAnn and Shane Bullough … Max’s brother, Riley, was a red-shirt freshman running back at Michigan State last season … Their grandfather, Hank, was the first member of the Bullough family to play for Michigan State, competing as an offensive guard from 1952-54. Hank was a member of the 2013 MSU Athletics Hall of Fame Class … Max’s father, Shane, followed, performing as a line-backer for the Spartans from 1983-86, serving as squad captain during his senior season … Max’s other grandfather, Jim Morse, was a halfback (1954-56) who played for head coach Terry Brennan at Notre Dame … His uncle, Chuck Bullough, was a Michigan State linebacker (1988-91) … His maternal uncles, Bobby Morse (Michigan State, running back, 1983-86) and Jim Morse (Notre Dame, cornerback, 1976-77) also played college football … Born 2/11/92 … Resides in Traverse City, Michigan.