Wide receiver is the position Malcolm Culmer will play at Maryland, and it's the position the 6-foot, 175-pound player planned to focus on during his senior season. But when Willingboro (N.J.) High's starting quarterback went down with a season-ending injury, Culmer's pre-college plans at the wide-out spot changed.

“We had to move him to tailback,” said Willingboro coach Reggie Lawrence. “Our starting quarterback got hurt and we couldn’t get the ball to our wide receivers as much as we needed to.”

Culmer was completely on board with the position change, because, as Lawrence said, the future Terp “wanted the ball more.” On the season, Culmer ended up rushing for 537 yards on 68 carries and caught 38 passes for 684 yards. He totaled 12 touchdowns and also picked off three passes from his free safety spot.

Lawrence said that prior to the Chimeras losing their starting quarterback, Culmer “looked great at wide receiver.” The senior also ended up doing “a good job” at tailback. Lawrence made it his priority to “get the ball to our best guy.”  

“It was somewhat of a learning process, but some of that was he’s just a natural athlete,” Lawrence said. “In all areas of football, you try to get your best guys the ball the best way you can.  Sometimes he would run, sometimes he didn’t get the ball. But with the ball in his hands, he made plays happen. … He ran the ball hard inside and fast outside.”

Culmer also returned kicks and punts for Willingboro, which finished 4-6 and played all of its games on the road because of a mold infestation at the school. Lawrence thinks Culmer will be an inside slot receiver at Maryland. His quickness and change of direction make him a perfect fit for the position, Lawrence said.

“He’s a person who performs well if you get the ball in his hands and he runs after the catch,” Lawrence said. “I think they’ll use him exclusively at receiver. I know they’re going to be short on receivers in spring ball. He’s coming in to compete for the opportunity to play a lot. I don’t know what system they’re going to use next year with a new offensive coordinator. So if they play three or four wide like they did last year, they expect him to be in the mix for playing time. He’s got decent size and he runs real well. He makes plays when he gets the ball.”