True Sun Devil Begins to Fulfill his Dream

This week most of ASU's incoming freshmen reported to campus as they begin their Sun Devil journey. Excitement and anxiousness are surely notions that will be shared by the 20 or so players. Yet, the pure bliss of finally donning the maroon and gold will be reserved to a select few and Shane McCullen certainly belongs in that selected group.

Shane McCullen remembers the first time he met with his Arizona State recruiting coach, Grady Stretz. This meeting took place after the Apache Junction standout had a solid showing in an underclassmen combine.

"I was happy as hell," McCullen recalled. "I was pretty sold on the Sun Devils. The only thing I wanted to see before I made my decision is how the coaches coach there and if they were really interested in me."

McCullen excelled in ASU's team camp in June of last year, despite practicing at safety which was a departure from his normal running back role. "I had very little experience at safety," he explained, "and that's the position the coaches wanted to me play at. I had a blast working with the coaches at the camp and I ended up doing very well."

McCullen passed his audition with flying colors.

"Two, three days later the coaches called me and when I came to the school to see them they offered me."

The safety told the ASU staff at the end of that meeting that he was going to wait before he made a decision. However, the more he thought about the offer on his ride home the more convinced McCullen was that he wanted to be a Sun Devil.

"When I got home from ASU I called the coaches and told them I was committing," McCullen commented. "I wanted to commit when I was meeting with the coaches, but I didn't tell anybody. I wanted to get things out of the way and focus on my senior season. I always wanted to commit early anyway, but just wanted to see what offers I was going to get first.

"I was so happy when I committed I can't even explain it."

Cal, Stanford, Washington State and Utah were some of the schools that had offered McCullen earlier in the recruiting process.

"ASU was the offer I was waiting for all this time," McCullen admitted. "It was a little frustrating that other Pac-10 teams already offered me before ASU did. but I realized it was because I didn't have a lot of film at all of me playing at safety and they had to see that If I could play that position."

Even though his parents attended ASU. McCullen noted that he never felt pressure to follow their footsteps. His love for the school was just a result of a natural process of being exposed to one school more than the others. It was a process that cultivated his love for the maroon and gold from an early age.

"There was this one game when I was eight years old," McCullen recalled. "My team played at halftime at one of the ASU games. Being at Sun Devil stadium was amazing. We didn't even know what to do when we were on the field."

McCullen acknowledged that when he attended ASU games following his pledge, he was in the ear of other Sun Devil recruits who haven't committed yet trying to entice them to join rank. "I always thought that if you were in Arizona this was the place to be," he said.

Following his senior season McCullen was regarded as the Pinal County Player of the Year and a member of the Friday Night Heroes list by Phoenix Metro Football Magazine.

On defense he played linebacker and collected 42 tackles (22 solo) with two interceptions and one sack. At running back he registered a team-high 866 yards on 127 carries (6.8 avg.) for nine rushing touchdowns. He also tallied 11 catches for 174 yards and two scores.

On special teams he averaged 42.3 yards on seven kickoff returns and had a 98-yard and a 99-yard kickoff return during the season

"I have good speed," said McCullen was clocked running a 40-yard dash at 4.35 during a Scout.com combine, "and I'm good at reading plays so I have no problems adapting to new stuff."

This past year McCullen was nursing a torn labarum which he suffered in his junior season. The shoulder pain was persistent his entire senior season, as his shoulder repeatedly dislocated during that year. Nonetheless, he played with that injury not missing a game.

Following the 2008 campaign McCullen underwent surgery. The procedure severely restricted his workout schedule and caused him to drop from 208 lbs. to 183. Currently McCullen weighs 192 and is confident that when he resumes full workouts he can increase his upper body strength and regain his old playing weight.

"It was real frustrating because I worked so hard to get my weight up and it was gone just like that," McCullen stated. "But so far the weight has come back a lot faster than the doctors thought it would.

"I'm on a modified workout now, but I should be full go in August when we start practice."

McCullen realizes the transition that lies ahead of him, and is determine to meet that challenge head on. "I know I can play at safety at this level, but I'm positive I can play on special teams," He said. "I know the game is faster at this level, but I don't think the speed will really bother me or be a huge adjustment.

"Coaches told me I have the size to play as an outside linebacker later on and I have no problem with that. Whatever position I play I just have to wipe the whole slate clean and start fresh.

Shane McCullen can easily pass for the proverbial poster child of a player who grew up an avid Sun Devil fan and will now live out his dream as a member of the team. He knows he could be a hometown hero during his Tempe tenure, but the safety is very humble when he realizes that the spotlight could shine brightly on him for the next few years.

"I try to keep under the radar as much as I can because I don't like people making a huge deal about me," McCullen said. "I never try to draw that attention. I'm happy if I get attention, but I don't need it."

Introducing Shane McCullen

High School/Junior College

Apache Junction (Ariz.) High School

Position

Safety

Height

6-2

Weight

195

Date of birth

7/26/90

Birthplace

Irvine, Calif.

Nickname

"No nick name…everybody just called me Shane."

Favorite TV show

"American Idol."

Favorite movie

"Transformers."

Favorite singer/band

"Lil' Wayne."

Favorite food

"Any Italian."

Favorite drink

"Root Beer."

Favorite athlete

"Larry Fitzgerald."

Favorite pro team

"Arizona Cardinals."

Person you most admire

"My dad. He's a hard worker who runs his own business."

First football memory

"I was eight years old and my team won a fund raising competition. So we got to play at halftime of one of the Sun Devil games."

One thing most people don't know about me

"I'm a champ at Mario Cars (Nintendo game)

Why did you choose ASU?

"I grew up ASU. Both my parents went there so the only thing I know is ASU."

Where do you want to be in ten years?

"In the NFL or be an Orthopedic Surgeon."


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