- The Washington Times - Friday, September 30, 2005

Joey Bullen’s high school coach called Navy coach Paul Johnson because Bullen wanted to come to the academy and kick. Just like every other college football coach in the country, Johnson passed.

Instead, Bullen came to Annapolis for soccer, but he was cut after a bad summer tryout. So he went to Johnson again about being on the football team.

“Before I joined the sprint team, I came here and talked to Coach Johnson,” Bullen said. “[Johnson] said they already had a ton of kickers out here and to come back in the spring. In the meantime, it would be a good thing if I really wanted to come back out to practice or go with the sprint team. That’s exactly what I did — I ran straight from here to over there.”

After a successful season with the sprint team, Bullen was granted a chance to try out for the varsity team. He joined before spring practice and beat out Jake Brownell, Matt Harmon and Ethan Gouge for the starting job.

Last season, the kicking game was a problem for the Mids. Geoff Blumenfeld made the game-winning field goal at Air Force but missed seven of his other 11 attempts and four extra points. Bullen has been perfect on extra points and made his only field goal attempt — a 39-yarder against Stanford.

“Some of the coaches were saying at the end of the Stanford game that they wished we had gotten the ball down the field so I could have kicked a field goal,” Bullen said. “They were confident I could make it, and the whole team has been behind me since I moved over here.”

He boasts a strong leg — Bullen says anything within 53 yards is in range, and he has made kicks from 50-plus yards in practice. The only blemish so far has been on kickoffs. He shanked two out of bounds against Stanford, and Harmon replaced him in the second half.

“Bullen has been hot and cold,” Johnson said. “He made a field goal the other night and has made his extra points, but he hasn’t kicked the ball off the way he’s capable of and the way he does in practice. He’s done some good things. I think we can be good in the kicking game; we just have to be consistent. ”

Bullen grew up in West Palm Beach, Fla., before moving to St. Simons Island, Ga., when he was 10. He attended high school in Brunswick, Ga., just across the FJ Torras Causeway at a small school named Glynn Academy.

If the school sounds familiar to residents of the D.C. area, it is because he was a sophomore when Kwame Brown was garnering attention for his basketball talents as a senior.

“It was awesome going to all the basketball games,” Bullen said. “He is [a legend]. They’ve got a Kwame watch in the Brunswick News. He’s definitely a hometown hero.”

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