In the midst of an underwhelming season for the Philadelphia Eagles, the city has fallen in love with one of its newest players.
Travis Fulgham, an Ashburn native and Broad Run High School graduate, has soared onto the scene, quickly emerging as quarterback Carson Wentz’s favorite receiver.
A late addition to the practice squad after being cut by the Green Bay Packers, Fulgham caught 10 of his 13 targets for 152 yards and a touchdown in just his second start this year, a 38-29 loss to the Steelers on Oct. 11. He joins well-known players Tyreek Hill, DeAndre Hopkins, Julio Jones, and Michael Thomas as receivers who have accomplished the same statistical feat (at least 10 catches, 150 yards and one touchdown) in a game over the past two seasons.
“If Carson throws me the ball, just come down with it and make the play,” Fulgham told reporters after the game. “I am just being in the right place at the right time. Coach is calling great plays and I am just executing.”
A week prior, in his first start, Fulgham caught only two passes. One of them, a “right place at the right time” moment, was a 42-yard touchdown catch as he tiptoed down the sideline against the San Francisco 49ers, putting Philadelphia ahead for good in a 25-20 victory.
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said, “It is obviously a pleasant surprise to see him step up the way he has over the last couple of weeks. He just attacks each day, ready to learn, ready to get better.”
And Wentz didn’t mince words: “He is a beast,” he said following the game. “He made a lot of big plays. I was really proud of him and pumped for him.”
Back home, it is less of a surprise that Fulgham has found his footing in the NFL. It is actually his third cycle of starting at the bottom and climbing the mountain, going all the way back to his only season playing for Broad Run, in 2013, then five years at Old Dominion University.
Spartans head coach Matt Griffis remembers it well: Fulgham showing up the Friday before two-a-days asking to play football and immediately seeing his potential.
Starting at the bottom of the depth chart, Fulgham proved he could handle the adversity with 37 catches, 819 yards and eight touchdowns that season.
“He worked hard, did everything that he was asked to do and to the best of his ability,” Griffis recalled in an interview this week. “He was a very good football player for us as a result of that.”
The most influential factor that helped him earn those targets? “The Bully Squad.”
Started by Fulgham and teammate Chuck Davis, who went on to play wide receiver at the University of Virginia, “The Bully Squad” was a mindset for the wideouts to consistently focus on dominating in blocking. Receivers coach Myron Curtis has kept that going to this day.
“A lot of people saw when Travis bought in that everybody else wanted to do it, too. They established that legacy,” Curtis said. “You could see this guy was going to be a problem. Not only was he super fast, but he is also going to dominate a defensive back with or without the ball.”
After the stellar performance in front of his family in Pittsburgh, Fulgham aims to keep bullying his competition into Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens.