The Hurry-Up is your nightly dose of updates from the Ohio State football recruiting trail, keeping tabs on the latest from commits and targets from around the country.
McCullough's OSU commitment never wavered
Last week was a lot to handle all at once for Dasan McCullough.
McCullough, a 2022 Ohio State commit, was in the unique situation of having two factors playing into whether or not he would stay committed to the Buckeyes.
First, his dad, former Kansas City Chiefs running backs coach Deland McCullough, accepted the associate head coach/running backs coach position at Indiana. So the younger McCullough had to answer questions about that all week and what it meant for his standing with Ohio State, with many people reaching out from far and wide to ask how firm his commitment was.
And then, reports started to come out about McCullough’s future position coach in Columbus, Al Washington, potentially leaving to be Tennessee’s defensive coordinator.
Washington eventually chose to stay at Ohio State and remain the Buckeyes’ linebackers coach for at least another year. But both things happening simultaneously brought forth a bit of a hectic week for McCullough.
“I never really noticed how big of a deal it was until it was all over,” McCullough told Eleven Warriors. “At the time, I understood it so I didn’t really think I was gonna blow up or anything like that. I understood it. It was just two things that made it look real bad for me and Ohio State, just going through at the exact same time. So I can see how people may have thought that.
“The day that everyone had learned that my dad got the job and everything was out there, I got a lot of texts with people just asking me what I’m gonna do now with him back in Indiana. So I just had to let people know that wasn’t gonna change anything.”
Whether or not Washington had left, and even with his dad becoming a college coach for a Big Ten program, McCullough was adamant that he was not wavering from his Ohio State commitment. And he doesn’t plan to waver from it in the future, even if Washington were to take a defensive coordinator position down the road.
“I actually haven’t really thought about that,” McCullough said when asked his thoughts about Washington hypothetically leaving for a DC role at another school next year. “I’m kind of just taking it in the present, and we’ll see how things work out later. For right now, I’m glad he’s staying for another year.”
Just like the other linebackers in his class and players in the 2020 and 2021 cycles, it’s hard to emphasize how strong of a relationship McCullough has with Washington. The two are very close, and Washington was a key reason for McCullough’s commitment.
It’s built on a strong, genuine bond, and Washington’s communication with McCullough (and the other linebackers) about the Tennessee job made them feel as if Washington was just as advertised.
“I mean, he didn’t have to tell us any of his personal business like that,” McCullough said. “He called us, he let us know where everything was standing, and he told us he was gonna keep us updated. And I can’t do anything but respect that, and that’s a great thing to see, obviously.
“He was communicating with me and the linebackers really well during those couple days. He had called me before letting me know because he told the linebackers he was gonna let us know before it hit the news. I was really excited to hear it, obviously, he’s a huge reason why I committed. So knowing that my coach is gonna be staying there hopefully for the next couple of years, with the linebackers coming in, that’s gonna be something special.”
Back in June, just two months before McCullough announced his Ohio State pledge, he told us how good of a match Washington was between coach and player for his growth as a linebacker. McCullough doubled down on that notion this week.
“Like I said back then, him being a technicians coach is gonna be perfect for me,” McCullough said. “I feel like I’m gonna come in ready size-wise. I’m an above-average height for linebacker and strength and speed, I feel like I’ll be good. I feel like he’ll be able to take my game to the next level technique-wise and the mental part of the game.”
Over the next couple of weeks, McCullough is going to be back in the lab training hard in preparation for the summer camp circuit and his senior season, one that will now be played at Bloomington South High School at Indiana, the state in which McCullough spent some of his formative years from 2011-2016 while his dad was a running backs coach on Kevin Wilson’s Indiana staff.
“I’m pretty excited, obviously,” McCullough said. “It would’ve been great to finish my senior year at the high school I started at, but it’s also not bad to go back to where I began everything at with football. It’s gonna be a great experience playing with old friends or against them. I’m looking forward to it.”
McCullough and his family will be moving to Indiana at the end of the month. When he does move there, as the No. 54 overall player (and No. 6 athlete) in the country, McCullough will become the No. 1-ranked player in the state and will compete to be the Buckeyes’ highest-ranked commit from the state all-time. Rod Smith (No. 46 overall, No. 4 RB in 2010) holds the throne right now.
David Perkins (No. 171 overall, No. 18 OLB in 2012), Terry McLaurin (No. 248 overall, No. 36 WR in 2014) and Pete Werner (No. 277 overall, No. 14 ILB in 2017) are among the other highest-ranked Buckeye signees from the state.
Header photo: Dasan McCullough – Ryan Wallace/247Sports