can’t stop the “Bullet”
has seldom seen such
an accomplished all-around player as football legend “Bullet” Bill
Dudley. The amazing football phenom was born December 24, 1921 in the town
of Bluefield, Virginia. He went on to set awe-inspiring records and serve
as a role
model on and off the gridiron.
Dudley showed his talents early on. As a teenager “Bullet” attended
Bluefield's Graham High School. Even though he did not physically look like
your typical football player (Dudley was only 5’9” and weighed
a mere 110 lbs. in high school) his heart and mind were focused on the game
of football. In his junior year he finally made the football team and flourished
under the wise eye of his mentor, Coach Marshall Shearer. His newly acquired
knowledge and skill helped mold this would-be football hall of fame legend
intro a bravura athlete.
Dudley earned the nickname "Bluefield Bullet” while in high school.
He was not the fastest player on the field, but he sprinted quickly, ran elusively,
changed directions almost intuitively, maneuvered behind blockers and often
spun away from would-be tacklers. The “Bullet” always hit his target!
His monumental talents were seen by all in 1938. “Bullet” helped
the Graham High School team beat favored Princeton High when he kicked an astonishing
35-yard field goal.
Dudley’s showmanship and competitive edge radiated through and at the
tender age of 16, he was drafted to the University of Virginia football team
by Coach Frank Murray. He was awarded a scholarship to attend the school and
a $500 grant for his room, board and books. Originally picked to be the team’s
punter, his versatility on the field was soon recognized and Dudley eventually
stepped into the roles of halfback and tailback.
He started his career in 1938 as a University of Virginia
Cavalier in the roles of punter and tailback. The 150 lbs. Dudley began the
1939 season as
a fifth back. Due to injuries on the team, “Bullet” was still able
to get on the football field and make his name known. His efforts paid off.
In 1940 Dudley was the starting tailback for every game and was the South’s
leader in total offense. Unfortunately, his audacious talents were not enough
for the Cavalier’s to come away with a victorious record.