Clayton Bullard was set to attend Hocking College in Nelsonville to study criminal justice, but those plans have changed.
The 2014 graduate of Johnstown-Monroe High School was offered a football scholarship to Urbana University, an NCAA Division II school, and he signed with the Blue Knights on June 6.
"They said they thought I was going to get an offer from a Division I school and when that didn't happen, they called me," Bullard said. "They offer criminal justice there, so I can still major in that."
The 6-foot-5, 215-pound defensive end totaled 113 tackles, including 21 for loss, and 10 sacks as a senior for the Johnnies, who finished 5-5 overall last fall and missed the Division IV playoffs.
Bullard was first-team all-state, the district's Defensive Player of the Year and the LCL's Lineman of the Year. As a tight end, he had six receptions for 124 yards and one touchdown.
"We had an opportunity to evaluate Clayton on film and he showed the ability to be an effective college defensive lineman," Urbana coach David Taynor said. "He is able to bend and get his hips toward the quarterback, and he has a relatively good skill set.
"We're looking at him as a defensive end. He has the athleticism to play the linebacker position, but we usually grow players when they get here. We normally grow linebackers into defensive linemen."
As a junior, Bullard was special mention all-district and first-team all-MBC after totaling 20 sacks, 117 tackles and two fumble recoveries.
"We're all very excited about this happening for Clayton," Johnstown coach Mike Carter said. "When things didn't materialize for him earlier, we as a staff started to contact schools and Urbana showed tremendous interest in him."
Last winter, Bullard also placed third at 195 pounds in the Division II state wrestling tournament, defeating Perry's Kyle Kremiller 5-4 in the consolation final. He finished the season 53-1 and had a career record of 168-28.
"I don't plan on wrestling (at Urbana)," Bullard said. "I'm just playing football."
Bullard said he knows he has work ahead of him to excel at the next level.
"I definitely am going to be lifting more," he said. "I'm going to probably need to put on 30 or 40 pounds. I'll need to put on as much weight as I can."
Taynor said he's happy to not only get a strong football talent, but also a quality person.
"We're getting a good athlete and a high-character guy," Taynor said. "He was a successful wrestler and is a well-rounded student-athlete. He comes from a very strong family and from a very solid (football) program. He's an intriguing and exciting prospect."
Last season, Urbana finished 7-4 overall and tied Concord University of Athens, W.Va., for second (7-2) in the Mountain East Conference behind Shepherd University (9-0) of Shepherdstown, W.Va.