Cornerback John Fulton sees 2012 injury as key to his growth

Cornerback used time to study his position and get stronger

Anniston StarAugust 16, 2013 

Western Kentucky Alabama Football

Western Kentucky defensive back Jonathan Dowling (1) can't haul in a first quarter pass as Alabama defensive back John Fulton (10) defends in an NCAA college football game at Bryant Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

DAVE MARTIN — AP

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama defensive back John Fulton sees the toe injury that hindered his performance in 2012 as a turning point in his development as a player.

While recovering from the injury, Fulton says he grew closer to God, which ultimately pushed him to become a better player and leader.

"I guess when I got injured, I got closer to God and that really brought all the good things out of me," Fulton said. "I wanted to be a leader. I wanted to be consistent. I wanted to buy in. I wanted to do the right things. I guess people can kinda see it. I really don't see it with myself, but a lot of people tell me that."

Fulton's teammates have noticed his new attitude.

"He's great. He's a workaholic," defensive back Deion Belue said. "Like every down, you can guarantee he's going to be there working for you, cheering you on. That's the man to be."

The injury limited Fulton in the spring as well, but didn't break his spirit.

"At first, I was kind of mad about it," he said. "I started reading the Bible and reading books and it showed me that God does everything for a reason. While doing that, I got bigger, stronger and I learned the playbook in and out. He does everything for a reason and he did that to me so I could learn, learn how to be a leader and learn how to be consistent. So, it was for a great cause."

Fulton, a senior out of Manning, S.C., is expected to start at one of the Tide's cornerback spots along with Belue. He's been working with the first team defense all preseason practice.

"It's a dream come true really," he said. "But right now I'm really working on being consistent, working on being a leader to the young guys and helping them out in anyway I can."

Now, Fulton is 100 percent. He's one of the Tide's more vocal leaders on defense. He remains humble as his young teammates jockey for snaps behind him.

"The younger guys are way better than I am when I was younger because I would not ask anybody any questions or anything like that," Fulton said. "But the younger guys, they ask questions so they learn way quicker than I would. Sometimes they ask me questions that I don't know the answer to.

"So they are making me better at the same time, because I'll go ask one of the coaches who tells me the answer so I can tell the younger guys."

Fulton says he wasn't shy, but didn't ask questions as a young player.

"I didn't want it to seem like I didn't know what was going on even though it would show in practice that I didn't know what I was doing," he said. "I should have just asked questions."

Opposing quarterbacks looking for a weak link in Alabama's secondary should pick on Fulton. He welcomes it.

"Yes, that's my dream," he said. "That's my dream. I hope they come at me."

Not because he's arrogant. Fulton wants to prove his worth as one of the Tide's defenders.

"I'm competitive. I want to be the greatest and I want to be the best," he said. "That's why I want to go against the greatest person. I want to be on the best receiver. That's my mentality."

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