It apparently didn’t take long for Joseph Bulovas to convince Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson that he was worth a scholarship offer.
At Tech’s camp two weekends ago, Bulovas took kicks for Johnson and his area recruiter, quarterbacks and B-backs coach Bryan Cook, took a few field goals between 30 and 40 yards out and then put a few kickoffs into and out of the end zone.
“He said he’d seen enough,” said Bulovas, from Mandeville, La.
It likely helped that Bulovas said he kicked a field goal from 40 yards over the netting behind the end zone.
A few days later, Bulovas accepted the scholarship offer and committed to Tech late last week. With that, Tech has the kicker ranked second by a national kicking academy in the fold to take over for Harrison Butker.
“I was looking for the best fit academically and athletically, and I think I’ve found that,” he said.
Bulovas has been kicking since he was 7 or 8, he said, when he wanted to play football but his father wouldn’t let him. Kicking became his way into the game. His father even built him goalposts out of PVC pipe in the backyard. The apparatus is still there, now at regulation size. Bulovas’ family lives on a golf course, so he can back up into the fairway adjoining his backyard and kick from as far as 60 yards, he said.
“That’s where I can get some good work in,” he said.
Bulovas’ long in a game is 52 yards. His long in practice is 75 yards, he said. He feels comfortable kicking up to 60 yards, he said. Bulovas also plays quarterback for Mandeville High and has been the starter since his sophomore season. He is also, in fact, a pitcher who can hit 89 miles per hour with his fastball and has interest in playing in college.
Bulovas would seem a most worthy successor to Butker, who is among the nation’s best at kickoffs and was 7-for-11 on field-goal tries. The two actually talked during the camp.
“He gave me a lot of insight into what Georgia Tech has to offer,” Bulovas said. “It was great getting to meet him and seeing what he had to say.”
Bulovas took the initiative in his recruitment. Last fall, Cook was visiting his school to see a teammate who ultimately signed elsewhere (Jonathan Picone, Texas Tech). Bulovas was a highly-ranked kicker without a major-college offer.
“I pulled him aside and said, ‘Hey, are you guys looking for a 2017 kicker?’” Bulovas said. “He thought about it for a little bit and said, ‘Yeah, we are.’”
A few days later, Cook told him that Tech was interested.
“I saw the opportunity and I wanted to make the most of it,” he said. “I’m sure glad I did.”