McCullough hopes to follow in footsteps of Dwayne Allen

by - Contributor -
McCullough had 3 catches for 15 yards in his first Clemson game. (TigerNet Staff)

During a competition when many Tiger fans were already looking forward to scoping out the team’s young talent on the field, the Clemson reserves stepped up and stole the show in last Saturday’s game versus South Carolina State. Backup quarterback Cole StoudtCole Stoudt
Jr. Quarterback
#18 6-4, 205
Dublin, OH

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was a standout player, but many others had their first milestones on the field.

One of those players was Jay Jay McCulloughJay Jay McCullough
RS Fr. Tight End
#89 6-3, 230
Fort Mill, SC

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, a red-shirt freshman tight end from Fort Mill, who was one of six Clemson players to make his first catch on last week.

On Monday McCullough expressed how happy he was just to have seen the field again after sitting out for a year.

“While you’re waiting that long all you’re thinking about is what you can be doing or what you wish you were doing in this game or in that game. But you’ve got to wait it out while you’re red shirting,” McCullough said.

With three catches for 15 yards in last Saturday’s game – one of those being one-handed – Tiger fans and coaches must feel happy too, especially since Coach Swinney voiced concerns about being thin at the position earlier this season.

McCullough said his red-shirt year off the field taught him a lot about how the offense is run and helped him prepare for the speed that coach Chad MorrisChad Morris
Offensive Coordinator / QBs
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expects. He also sought advice from veteran Clemson players, including former TE Dwayne AllenDwayne Allen
Tight End
#83 6-3, 255
Fayetteville, NC

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, who also red-shirted his freshman year. Now McCullough strives to become a physical powerhouse and learn to be a better blocker like Allen.

“I look at a lot of his [Dwayne Allen’s] film all the time to see the things that he did. The way he plays, I learned from a lot and I still learn from a lot,” McCullough said. “Hopefully one day I can break all of his records.”

In addition to training physically during his year off McCullough was also preparing mentally. One of the biggest benefits of his red-shirt year was having extra time to study the playbook.

“Our offense, there’s a lot of stuff that goes on. If you’re not studying it and if you’re not in that playbook then you won’t grasp it,” McCullough said. “That was one of the main things I did.”

McCullough also commented on the talents of the rest of the TE corps and how each player, specifically teammates Sam CooperSam Cooper
RS Jr. Tight End
#86 6-5, 250
Brentwood, TN

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, Stanton SeckingerStanton Seckinger
RS So. Tight End
#81 6-4, 210
Isle of Palms, SC

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and Jordan LeggettJordan Leggett
Fr. Tight End
#16 6-6, 235
Navarre, FL

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, had improved on aspects of their play. Each TE brings his own special talents to the position. McCullough expects coaches to use each player in the rotation, giving the team fresh legs and speed, but believes he could line up anywhere and be useful.

“I would like to get quick screens because I know how to read through stuff like that – get the ball and head up North,” he said. “We’ll all bring something special to the table, but most of it is speed.”

Even though Clemson didn’t recruit him as a running back, the impressive offensive outfit is what ultimately drew McCullough to the school. The experience as a running back prior to playing in college gives him confidence when it comes to running routes and getting quick balls, but he hopes for more. McCullough is comfortable in his collegiate position because he feels he can get by most linebackers and believes his style of play fits perfect at Clemson. But McCullough still misses running the ball and hopes to get in on some short yardage plays eventually.

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