Southern's Bullock makes college decision

Apr. 03, 2014 @ 03:47 PM

When it appeared he was losing the interest of some major Division I programs, Southern Vance’s Ja’Quez Bullock knew he had to motivate himself to get better.

Bullock sought to improve on the field, in training and as a leader of the Raiders’ team. The result of that self-motivation is a spot on an ACC football roster.

Bullock will suit up at N.C. State in the fall, which will make him the fourth Southern football player to don the Wolfpack’s red and white along with Chris Hawkins, Ernest Jones and current starting safety Hakim Jones.

Bullock, a 6-foot-8, 350-pound senior, was recruited as an offensive lineman and will likely redshirt for the 2014-2015 season.

“It’s not fun and games,” Bullock said Thursday at his signing ceremony. “It’s actually work you have to do.”

Bullock learned that from his father, Chris, who isn’t the only one in the family with an athletic background. Chris Bullock was a standout football player at Vance High and Northern Vance and the defensive MVP of the 1990 Shrine Bowl all-star game. Jaquez’ mother, Shannon Bullock, played basketball at UNC Greensboro and his brother, Jeremy, recently played baseball at Shaw University.

“At first, he wasn’t self-driven,” Chris Bullock said of Ja’Quez. “I always had to push him and let him know just because you’re a big boy, it’s not going to come easy for you. You always have to work hard.”

Ja’Quez Bullock, a two-time state qualifier in the shot put, wakes up at 5:30 each morning and works out at the YMCA before and after school — and currently, after track and field practice. He’s been working hard in the classroom too, learning of his acceptance to N.C. State a couple of weeks ago.

“I really believe that he can go to the next level if he just stays focused,” said Chris Bullock. “First of all, grades, because they’re more important to me than anything.”

Ja’Quez Bullock is a three-time all-conference football selection and was named the 3-A Carolina Conference’s lineman of the year in 2012.

“We’ve been waiting for this,” said Southern head coach Lewis Young. “He’s a player who we think really deserves to be there. I think he has the size, the academics, the talent — he’s a Division I player. Finally getting this chance, it’s just a relief and wonderful at the same time.”

Ja’Quez Bullock said he chose the Wolfpack because it was the Division I school that showed the most interest in him. N.C. Central, N.C. A&T and St. Augustine’s University were among other schools Bullock considered and North Carolina and Duke had each also shown interest.

“It’s going to be definitely different, but mentally I’m ready and physically I’m getting there,” said Ja’Quez Bullock.

When Ja’Quez does get there — all the way there — his father, the root of that enhanced work ethic, won’t be able to hide his emotion.

“I’ll cry tonight and I’ll cry the day that I see him on the field,” said Chris Bullock. “I’m so excited for him. He doesn’t even know the half of it.”

Contact the writer at kholtzman@hendersondispatch.com.