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A top target for MSU, Riley Bullough continues the Bullough family heritage at MSU.  Photo courtesy of Bullough

A top target for MSU, Riley Bullough continues the Bullough family heritage at MSU. Photo courtesy of Bullough


The Bullough family really needs no introduction to the vast majority of Michigan State fans. However, the newest Bullough to join the ranks of the Spartans, Riley, recently spoke with Spartan Nation. Riley is the type of young man and player that every MSU fan can be proud of, and will certainly be a name heard many times on Saturdays in the coming years.

While Riley played safety his senior year of high school, the Michigan State coaching staff sees him as projecting to an outside linebacker at the college level. At 6’2” 200 lbs Riley has a frame that is capable of adding the bulk necessary to play linebacker in the Big Ten, and already possesses more than enough speed and athleticism to cause any BCS level blockers fits.

When speaking about his commitment Riley understood that despite his strong family ties to MSU, he needed to keep an open mind. “I wanted to keep my options open,” he said. “I wanted to see what the other colleges had to offer,” he continued, “In the end I couldn’t get away from Michigan State.”

But don’t go thinking that his desire to become a Spartan was a product of parental prodding. Bullough’s parents have always allowed Riley to think for himself and supported him completely, and that continued into his recruitment. “Anyone who has gone through this process knows you have a lot of pressure on you all the time,” he explained. Riley went on: “You have a lot of people watching you, you’re talking to a lot of coaches. Just to have your family: my brother, my parents, everyone around me, support me just really helped me a lot.” That kind of support is why the Bullough family has been so successful in East Lansing for so many years.

That approach applied to what sports Riley would take up as well. Even though the Bullough’s are unquestionably the “first family” of Michigan State football, Riley wasn’t forced to strap on the pads. “It’s not something you can force upon a person,” he started, “Either you’re born with it or you not, just a love of the game.” Riley went on to explain that it was his parents’ approach that allowed him to develop into the player he is today. He said, “With me, and my parents kind of backing off and letting us [Riley and his brother, Max] mature and grow a little bit, it helps me as a player just to grow a deeper connection with the game of football.”

Riley also spoke at length about his relationship with his grandfather. “I can’t tell you how many things he’s taught my brother and I about football,” he started. Riley continued to talk about his grandfather’s never-ending love of football. “You could come to one of our family reunions and every night he’s getting us up off the dinner table showing us football techniques,” Riley explained. He finished by explaining why his grandfather means so much to his success both on and off the field: “He’s probably the most supportive guy I’ve ever known. He just wants me to be successful and get a good education, and I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Riley also spoke about his thoughts on his soon-to-be defensive coordinator, Pat Narduzzi. He didn’t say a lot, but what he said was…..entertaining. Riley matter-of-factly stated, “He’s nuts. He’s a great coach, but he’s nuts.” No truer statement has ever been made about Coach Narduzzi.

Riley also thought ahead to what it might be like to line up along-side his brother on the field one day. “I played with Max in high school, and I think we play really well together. I just hope it gets to happen someday,” he mused. The Spartan Nation can’t wait for that either, because if Michigan State is always better with a Bullough on the roster, it just may be unstoppable with two of them.