NCAA Football 2014: Oregon State vs USC SEP 27
Hayes Pullard, Contributor - The Players' Tribune
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For Hire: Smart Linebacker Who Makes Plays In Space

Hayes Pullard, Contributor - The Players' Tribune

Hayes Pullard
Middle Linebacker
USC

NFL owners, general managers, coaches and fans,

My name is Hayes Pullard and I’m writing to express my interest in becoming your next linebacker.

After a successful college career at the University of Southern California, I’m very confident that I can be an asset to your organization.

The NFL is a complex game and I pride myself on being an intelligent linebacker. In my four years of starting at USC, I played a lot of snaps against teams that relied on the speed option. This allowed me to develop great instincts for reading plays, as proven by the fact that I led the team in tackles three straight seasons. You can be the strongest and fastest guy in the world, but you’re not going to be able to do much on a football field if you don’t have a feel for the game. The ability to see a play unfold before it happens can’t be measured with a stopwatch or measuring stick, but you’ll notice it in the final score.

Being a good linebacker really comes down to having the ability to recognize the little things. For example, if there are three guys split out wide and you see the X lined up on the back side, you know he’s going to come over to where the open field is because they’ve spread it out to make sure space is vacant for somebody to come from the outside. If they’re tight, you know there is going to be a bunch of crossing routes because they see man-to-man defense. I keep track of these things, not only for myself, but also so that I can alert my teammates and put them in a better situation on third down. The guy who makes the play is often just as important as the guy who put them in the right position to do so.

That being said, I really like being the guy who makes the play. But don’t take my word for it. Let’s roll the tape:

When I do arrive at camp, there won’t be any concerns about whether I can pick up the system.

While I was at USC, we changed coaches every single year. From Monte Kiffin to Ed Orgeron to Clancy Pendergast to Justin Wilcox, I was able to learn something new each year, as opposed to being taught the same principles behind one system over and over. I feel comfortable saying that I can play in any system because in the past few years I’ve seen it all, from 5-2 to 3-4.

But beyond my ability to adapt on the field, you can trust that I’ll be a loyal employee. I signed with USC the year that Pete Carroll left, so I was around during some very tough years for the program. There were scholarship restrictions, which led to a lack of depth, which led to ugly losses, which led to the constant coaching changes mentioned above. But despite all this, I stayed put when I could have left. Now, after earning my degree in public policy and development, I depart from a program that’s in much better shape than when I arrived. If you decide to draft me, you can trust that I won’t be rattled by tough times. I’ve already been there and seen it through.

I understand I’m going to start off playing special teams. I have every intention of making plays in that role. The Pac-12 is all about speed and being able to cover open space, and the same could be said of covering kicks on a special teams unit. I want to become a standout in that capacity and expand my role on the team from there.

I know making it in the league is tough, but I’m no stranger to pressure. My full name is actually Hayes Pullard III, after my father, Hayes Pullard Jr., who passed away when I was in high school. Since then, my six siblings have looked to me to fill a leadership role in the family. They’ve leaned on me and I’ve happily accepted the challenge. Now that I’ve made it to this point with my degree and my health, I’m anxious to see how far I can go. I don’t view the opportunity to play in the NFL as merely a new job. I view it as a new chapter of my life.

I went to USC to fulfill my father’s dream. I got my degree to fulfill my mother’s dream. And now I’m writing this letter to you to fulfill my dream. I understand that I’m facing a tremendous challenge, but I’m confident that I’m up for it. The good ones rely on their athletic ability, but the great ones utilize their mind in order to get the most out of their athletic ability. If you draft me, know that I have no plans on being just good.

Sincerely,

Hayes Pullard III

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