California football player learns to protect the blindside.
was a right tackle — durable and reliable — his first two years as a starter on the offensive line.
When his senior year rolled around this fall, the Cypress (Calif.)
coaching staff had an easy decision to make on what to do with Pulsifer: shift him to left tackle. The most experienced lineman for the Centurions was going to protect the quarterback's blindside.
"Our quarterback's little, so we need somebody big to protect him. Trevor does the best job of that, for sure," Cypress football coach Rick Feldman said. "We wanted to get the guy that we felt most comfortable with protecting (our quarterback's) blindside."
That applied some added pressure on Pulsifer. And he's responded.
Through the first three games, he's kept quarterback Alex Ashcraft clean in the pocket. The 6-foot-4, 275-pound Pulsifer hasn't allowed a sack.
"I always keep him safe, even at school," Pulsifer said. "I make sure he's good."
Pulsifer takes pride in keeping his 5-foot-9 quarterback upright and mobile.
"(We) have really good chemistry, and I have confidence that whenever I block he'll make the right decision to follow me," said Pulsifer, who has played organized football since he was about 9.Learn more about the MaxPreps US Marines program at www.maxpreps.com/marines
Feldman has noticed rapid growth from Pulsifer this season. He's playing like a senior.
"There's been a change in the confidence level in him," Feldman said.
Offensive linemen don't get a lot of credit, even when a team is playing well. And if a team is losing and the running game is subpar, forget about any type of accolades. But Cypress is off to a 4-1 start after finishing 6-5 last season. Pulsifer, the team's only three-year starter on the offensive line, certainly deserves plenty of credit for the line's solid start.
The 17-year-old has been busy paving the way for his quarterback and the running backs.
"He's a good run blocker and we tend to run left, because he's over there," Feldman said. "When we need a play, we're going to run that way, for sure."
Feldman noted he's implemented more plays this year with his tackle pulling, and Pulsifer said he loves getting on the move and laying his pads squarely into a linebacker.
Pulsifer is agile and has solid, fundamental footwork, and even claims doing the splits is something he enjoys.
As Cypress' top lineman, Pulsifer helps teach the younger guys on the line. He'll never shy away from answering a question or giving props on a well-blocked play.
"He knows the offense, helps coach other guys on the line and he's a leader out there on the field — both on and off the field," Feldman said. "At the end of the day, we don't just want to be good football players, we want them to be great people. He's a great example of that with the charity work and everything else that he does."
Football is Pulsifer's favorite sport, but he also competes in basketball and baseball.
"I think the other sports make him well-rounded," Feldman said. "I think the basketball, for sure, helps his feet. He's got good feet and he's become more physical, which is good for us as well."
It's important for Pulsifer to stay involved and play three sports.
"I feel like being a three-sport athlete is very rare these days because most people focus on their dreams, like one sport," Pulsifer said. "I feel like if I play more than one sport, I have a better chance."
Pulsifer spent last basketball and baseball seasons playing at the junior varsity level, but he's hoping to earn a starting nod on both varsity squads this season. He's a physical center on the basketball team and is versatile as a first baseman, third baseman and pitcher on the baseball team.
Away from athletics, Pulsifer actively volunteers at the Boys & Girls Club with his football and baseball teams. He enjoys hanging out and playing with the youth. He also takes part annually with Toys for Tots.
When Pulsifer isn't busy with his own sports, he helps coach his brother, Austin, 14, and sister, Faith, 9, in their National Junior Basketball league. Faith also plays softball, something Pulsifer assists with as a coach.
Pulsifer loves sports and being around them in every aspect, which is why, when he heads off to college next fall, he'd like to pursue a degree to become an athletic trainer or in sports medicine.
Coach Feldman believes Pulsifer is a solid enough lineman to play college football at the Division II or III level. Pulsifer is hoping to attract some college attention with his play this season and acquire a scholarship.
"Whoever gives me a good offer and hopefully they have a great program and academics," Pulsifer said. "Of course, academics would be No. 1."
Pulsifer's great-grandfather attended the University of Iowa. So, if Pulsifer doesn't receive any scholarship offers from colleges, his great-grandfather told him he'd pay his tuition at Iowa.
"Hopefully, I can walk on the team," Pulsifer said. "But no matter what I do, I'll always work hard and earn my way. Not have it handed to me."Know an incredible student-athlete who stands out in sports and in life away from competition? Click here to nominate them for a chance to be featured on MaxPreps.