While taking care of the present – Bullough has led Traverse City St. Francis to 24 consecutive wins – he also is addressing the future.
The 17-year-old linebacker committed to Michigan State as a junior, intends to graduate from high school in January so he can enroll in college early and will pursue a degree in finance.
“I set my goals early, and I set them high so I knew what I was reaching for,” Bullough said.
The 6-foot-4, 230-pound senior, who spearheads a Gladiators defense that surrenders just 22 rushing yards and 6.5 points a game, is the Associated Press Division 7-8 Player of the Year, as voted on by a panel of sports writers from around the state.
“Max Bullough is one of those once-in-a-lifetime kids that you get in high school,” St. Francis coach Greg Vaughan said. “He definitely has talent, but it’s everything else he does that makes him that much better.
“He’s academic All-State. He works hard. He’s in the weight room first. He’s out to practice first. Everything he does, and it doesn’t matter what we’re doing, he’s going as hard as he possibly can. Of all the talented kids I’ve been around, he’s by far the hungriest, most driven and hardest working.”
It’s that focus, that desire that makes his parents proud. His father, Shane, is a former middle linebacker at Michigan State.
“With some of the accolades that he has received, and with the early commitment to Michigan State, it would be very easy for a young man to cash it in from an effort standpoint,” his father said. “But Max is always trying to get better and make everyone around him better.”
Bullough, a two-time AP all-state pick, had a team-high 111 tackles – 50 solo, 61 assists – heading into a semifinal game against Ravenna. A fullback and tight end on offense, Bullough has rushed for 464 yards on 40 carries and caught 11 passes, five for touchdowns.
A 3.9 student, Bullough comes from a football family. His grandfathers played at Notre Dame and Michigan State. Two uncles played for the Spartans.