“Just to be able to put on for my town, my city, the state that I live in for my entire life, it just means the world,” he said. “It don’t get better than that. It feels good just to be wanted by your own state.”
The former Mount Saint Joseph linebacker signed with Maryland on Tuesday and will join the team this fall. The 6-foot-3, 219-pound McCullough, 18, said the Terps identified him as an instinctive linebacker with a nose for the ball.
“They told me they wanted me to come in now and had all my papers ready. So I committed with them, signed my papers, everything,” he said after his second visit to the school Tuesday.
At Mount Saint Joseph, McCullough totaled 40 solo tackles, 13 sacks and one interception in his senior season, according to MaxPreps. He averaged 4.8 tackles a game.
McCullough spent the 2017 season redshirting at Hutchinson Community College (Kan.) after suffering an MCL sprain in practice a week before his first junior-college game. He did not play and attended school only part-time.
“Throughout that whole year, I’ve just been trying to get my legs back under me and stand ready,” he said.
McCullough’s knee recovered in time for Hutchinson’s spring ball. The linebacker transitioned from outside to inside linebacker, and before long, the spotlight above him switched on.
He committed to Minnesota, but that, he said, was “because that was my first offer,” he said. “I was planning on going there until some things had happened and most schools started to get involved. I had more options.”
Those included Kansas — where his older brother, Jeremiah, will play — Colorado and Rutgers, all of whose coaches were so impressed, they offered McCullough.
But each scholarship paled in comparison to the one from his home state, fulfilling a dream that had always felt far removed, until now.
“Out of high school, I had a few [Division II] and some [Football Championship Subdivision] offers, and I felt like I could go bigger, just like any kid dreaming big,” McCullough said. “I was able to obtain an offer from a JUCO — I didn’t know that nationally, JUCOs gave out scholarships. So I found that out last-minute and told my parents, so I did and it paid off because I worked hard.”