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Pulsipher “The Punisher”

12 May 2011 Brett Richins 11 Comments

NFF Scholar-Athlete Adam Pulsipher (seated) with family.

In case you haven’t noticed, BYU has been stocking up on talented mike linebackers recently.

The Cougars’ 3-4 alignment relies heavily on the mike position to close down the interior against an opponent’s running game.

The defense is designed to funnel everything to the mike, which means it is critical that the player manning the position be a tackling machine.

In recent years, Bronco Mendenhall has had to rely on guys in the middle who were big on heart and effort, but who were not necessarily great athletes.

The future should be quite different.

It begins in 2011 with the much anticipated appearance of USC transfer Uona Kaveinga, who should start this season in front of talented sophomore Zac Stout. Iona Pritchard, who returned home from his mission is another playmaker that could find himself battling for time in the middle when all is said and done.

Mendenhall’s program quietly added a couple of  strong mike prospects in his 2011 class in the form of Austin Heder from Pleasant Grove, Utah and Adam Pulsipher from Temecula, California.

Pulsipher, a National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete, was named as the 2010 California All-Valley Defensive MVP for his performance during his senior year. He was also the Southwestern All-League Defensive MVP, and tabbed as the top middle linebacker at the Nike Camp in Provo last June.

It was after that camp that he received his offer to play for the Cougars, something he accepted two days later, after having the chance to discuss his decision with his parents. After calling coach Mendenhall, he then had to cancel recruiting trips to PAC-10 schools Oregon State, Washington, UCLA and USC.

During his final season at Temecula Valley High School, he was the one player on a 5-5 team that opponents in the tough Southwestern League had to game plan for. Still he amassed a gaudy 126 tackles in 10 games, had three interceptions, two fumble recoveries and recorded two sacks.

Offensively he scored seven touchdowns on the ground while rushing for 224 yards on just 28 carries. That works out to an 8.1 yard average and a touchdown every four times he toted the ball. He also caught one touchdown pass.

At 6-foot-2, 230 pounds, and blessed with excellent athleticism, Adam’s play (highlights of his senior season are embedded below) is reminiscent of a guy BYU fans dubbed the “Freight Train” in the 1990’s — former Indianapolis Colts linebacker Rob Morris, who happens to be a graduate assistant on the BYU staff this year.

“My strengths are leadership, smarts, being able to get to the ball and getting big hits on the guy with the ball,” explains Pulsipher, who had one of the biggest hits of his career against one of his best friends, Brad Jacobson of rival Chaparral High.

Jacobson had been running some friendly smack at Pulsipher leading up to the game, so when Adam had the chance to take a shot on his buddy coming across the field — he laid the wood. The hit knocked Jacobson cold. “That was cool,” chuckled Pulsipher, who has a reputation of being a physical player and big-time hitter.

Adam’s game should translate nicely to the college level, particular since he has experience playing in a similar scheme to BYU’s. “My senior year we ran the 4-3, but in the past we had run all kinds of things, including the 3-4 and 4-3, so I’m used to playing both schemes.”

He has also had significant opportunities to develop his leadership skills as the unquestioned leader on the Golden Bears’ defense over the past couple of years.

“It definitely takes a leader to play that mike spot. In high school that was my spot — I was in charge of everyone and was able to play sideline to sideline. In college, playing that mike spot for BYU, I’m going to have to do the same.”

When he steps up to he college level, he will be following in the footsteps of several members of his family. His father and grandfather played at BYU as freshmen, and his older brother Andrew walked on in Provo as a quarterback and is currently serving a mission.

His uncle is Daniel Pulsipher, who kicked for the University of Utah in the 1990’s. “I have an uncle that played at Utah, but we don’t talk about that,” Adam joked.

Pulsipher and his family are definitely true blue through and through.

“BYU had always been my number one school growing up, its an LDS school with a good environment and a great football program.”

Because of the current scarcity of scholarships in Provo, Adam plans to grayshirt this coming season and leave for his own mission in early 2012.

Here are some of Adam’s highlights from the 2010 season…

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  • Hoax said:

    Excellent! Can’t wait to see Pulsipher on the field for the Cougars!

  • Greg said:

    I love the talent coming in. Welcome to the team!

  • Spencer said:

    He seems to have a ton of deceptive speed for his size.

  • Brandon said:

    Great article! Adam is amazing athlete and an even better person. He is the ideal BYU recruit and will do great things on and off the field.

    Go cougars!

  • Vaughnzipper said:

    Echo that Spencer. Dude’s got some serious field vision though. He sees the play unfold in his mind before the ball is even snapped.

  • TX Colonel said:

    Pulsipher “the “Punisher” is weak. How about Pulsipher “the Pulsifier” (a high speed oscillating action creating shearing forces).

  • Ike said:

    So when is our log jam of scholarships going to break? It seems like we have several guys not on schollie and many grey shirting. I have also seen a few top lineman recruits waiting for offers that may come but because of the log jam of schollies they are up in the air.

    Anyone have any insight on this?

  • Jared said:

    Love how he sheds the block and covers a lot of ground to make the tackle. He’s gobbling up blockers in that video. Nice.

  • Kenny Scott said:

    One of the cooler fake punts that I have seen.

  • Ralph J said:

    What an awesome kid!

    I love his quote, “I have an uncle that played at Utah, but we don’t talk about that.” I also love the fact that when he got his BYU offer he accepted right away and then canceled his recruiting trips to USC, UCLA, Oregon St, etc. The kid sounds golden.

  • Troy S said:

    I love how he continues to drive his feet when he makes a tackle.

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