After four years off, Drequan McCullough receives college offers
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In seventh grade, Drequan McCullough was forced to walk away from the game he loved. After five years of playing football, he was told it was too much.
“It was family problems to where I couldn’t play,” McCullough said, “But God worked everything out so I’m able to play.”
It’s an ability McCullough hasn’t wasted. McCullough returned to the game as a junior, and now, after only two years of high school football, the running back turned safety starts at the core of a strong defense.
He has fielded offers from Buffalo and Florida A&M, and he says he has recently received attention from even bigger schools like USF and UCF.
The road back, however, wasn’t easy.
“I found myself uncoordinated a lot, trying to come back from four years off,” McCullough said. “It was actually very difficult. I didn’t really get back into the flow of things until a couple months ago.”
In the spring, McCullough ran track to build his speed and endurance. “He’s worked real hard,” track coach Joe Sipp said. “Once he started getting in some shape, he came every week and was very competitive. His times started dropping in every event. He put a lot of time and a lot of work and a lot of effort in.”
Track season is also when he saw his college recruiting pick up. After a busy spring, McCullough received his first offer from Florida A&M in mid-June, and his second from Buffalo came days later.
McCullough jokes that his family didn’t believe him when the first offer came in.
“Everybody thought I was lying,” McCullough said. “They were very surprised, but when they found out everybody was excited.”
During the track season, McCullough grew close to running back and track star Duran Bell. Bell, a USF commit himself, helped McCullough work on getting back into shape and form.
“He listened to me and took my advice because he knew I was a little more experienced,” Bell said. “Since then we take each other’s advice and we have been a powerful duo in the backfield.”
Bell and McCullough have combined for almost 70 percent of Hillsborough’s total rushing yards and touchdowns this season. McCullough has four rushing and one receiving touchdown so far.
This season, McCullough has become a large part of the success of Hillsborough’s defense, which is giving up fewer than eight points per game.
“I like to come downfield full speed and hit something,” McCullough said of his playing style at safety. “When the ball’s in the air I’m a ball hawk.”