For many college students, spring break is an opportunity to vacation, party and think about anything but work.
Ohio State long snapper Liam McCullough, however, used his spring break earlier this month as an opportunity to work toward his post-football career.
While many college students, including some Ohio State football players, head south for spring break for a week at the beach – not that there's anything wrong with that, as Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins spent some of his time at the beach throwing to NFL wide receivers – McCullough spent his spring break week in New York interviewing and shadowing with Goldman Sachs.
McCullough, a finance major at Ohio State, first had the opportunity to visit Goldman Sachs last May, when he and Buckeye teammate Trevon Forte spent a week at the Manhattan-based firm – one of the largest financial institutions in the world – on a mini-internship arranged by Ohio State director of player development Ryan Stamper through the Buckeyes’ Real Life Wednesdays program.
Since then, McCullough has remained in touch with Goldman Sachs, with hopes of eventually landing a full-time job there.
"It’d be really nice," McCullough said Wednesday about the possibility of working for Goldman Sachs. "That’s kind of the dream."
Specifically, McCullough has his sights set on a career in private wealth management working with ultra high-net-worth individuals or in asset management working with endowment funds, large corporations and universities. That career, McCullough said, could even include managing the finances of some of his current or former Buckeye teammates who will go on to make millions of dollars playing in the NFL.
"That’s something that a couple guys have actually come up to me and talked about," McCullough said. "It’s really cool, seeing a lot of these young guys get drafted at such a young age and coming into these giant lump-sum signing bonuses, and a lot of them have come to me and said, 'I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know anything about investments or finance or estate planning or retirement planning,' and a lot of guys have come to me and said, 'Hey, when I get drafted, I’m coming to you to help me out.'"
A redshirt junior going into his third season as Ohio State’s starting long snapper, McCullough also has NFL aspirations of his own. He says he has been in touch with multiple long snappers who have gone on to play in the NFL – including former Buckeye long snapper Jake McQuaide, who recently signed a three-year contract extension with the Los Angeles Rams – and plans to participate in Ohio State’s 2020 pro day, while hoping to earn an invite to the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine, after his final two seasons with the Buckeyes.
While McCullough has been rock-solid in his first two seasons snapping for the Buckeyes, he says he has continued to work toward becoming even more consistent with his snaps this spring. Additionally, McCullough says he has been working on improving his ability to get down the field in coverage – even though he doesn’t anticipate having the opportunity to make many plays in that facet of the game at Ohio State with all the talent on the punting unit around him.
"It’s tough, being a gunner and releasing down the field when you’re running with Denzel Ward and Parris Campbell, Terry McLaurin, these guys that are ridiculously fast. And now we got these young guys, we got guys like Jeff Okudah, Isaiah Pryor, Brendon White that are hauling down the field," McCullough said. "So trying to keep up with those guys, just working on my coverage skills. Being with those guys that are so fast, it’s tough for the long snapper to make big plays down the field, especially when you got a ridiculous punter like Drue (Chrisman)."
In preparation for a potential future in the NFL, McCullough says he has also been adding weight and working on learning pro-style punt protections, even though the Buckeyes don’t use them regularly because of the premium they place on punt coverage.
Regardless of whether he makes it to the NFL, McCullough will continue to work toward a potential future career at Goldman Sachs. He knows it won’t be easy to land a job there, so he’ll need all the experience he can get.
"It’s a very cut-throat recruiting process," McCullough said of trying to land a job at Goldman Sachs. "They have a really strong internship program that’s really hard to get into. And it’s tough to work around the football schedule, it’s a 10-week internship in New York City during the summer, so unfortunately, being on the team, it’s hard to be out there for 10 weeks. So we’re trying to work around that process with some people there at the firm, but hopefully it’ll lead to something in the future."
McCullough, however, isn’t one to shy away from a highly competitive environment, given that he’s already been a part of one by playing football at Ohio State.
"The culture here at Ohio State is so elite," McCullough said. "Everything we do, we strive to be the best. Everything is at the highest level. And Goldman Sachs is the exact same way. Elite people, elite culture, accepting nothing but excellence, really, and perfection."