In-State Defender Planning To Be A Tiger?

This talented in-state defensive prospect talks about his college plans.

Alexander City, Ala.—Demetrius Culpepper is one of the most talented defenders in the state of Alabama for the class of 2006, and the 6-4, 220-pound defensive end says that he has acquired some very strong feelings about the Auburn Tigers' program following a recent visit to the Iron Bowl.

"It was fun," he says about his visit. "I plan on going to Auburn. I plan on going down there. I went down there before the game and everything flowed perfect. After the game I got to go in the locker room with the team. We talked to them and everything. After the game, we were a part of the team. After the game was over we went everywhere they did and they showed us around.

"Then, we went to Marquies Gunn's apartment with him and stayed and chilled with him a little while," he continues. "I feel like when I go down there I am going to be a freshman and Marquies Gunn should be a senior and I already know him and we are already like close friends, so it ought to go fine once I get down there."

Although it sounds like Culpepper has made his decision about where he wants to play his college football, he notes that he has not "committed" to the Tigers yet and still has some interest in Louisville, where he has an official visit set up for December 10th.

However, he notes that the Tigers and Cardinals are the final two teams in the running for his signature in February and adds that he should be ready to make his commitment following his trip to Louisville.

Along with a great trip to Auburn for the Iron Bowl, Culpepper says that family connections have also played a big role in decision-making process. "I grew up in an Auburn house," he says. "My dad goes for Auburn. Most all of my family members and everything go for Auburn so I grew up in an Auburn atmosphere. So, just by staying around my family and everything it makes me lean that way. Then, talking to Coach (Joe) Whitt and going down there and watching that game it just about set it off."

Whitt, who coaches linebackers for Auburn, recruits the Alexander City area.

At the game, Culpepper says he and his Benjamin Russell teammates had a good time. "We had planned to meet up down there, me, Mike Goggans and LaBronski Hutchins," he notes. "We all met up at the back gate and when we got there we ate and everything. We walked the field with the team. We just walked and talked with Marquies Gunn, Eric Brock and Tez Doolittle, (Stanley) McClover and (Quentin) Groves. Then. Coach Whitt came out and he talked to us. Then, the game started and it was just fun.

"The game, it all just fell down right," he adds. "I knew that Auburn-Alabama game was over in the first quarter."

Demetrius Culpepper uses his combination of size and speed off the end to make life tough on opposing quarterbacks.

He also notes that he had plenty of ammunition for the few Alabama fans he knew after the game has ended. "It was great," he says about the way the Tigers demolished the Tide. "I got to call home and pick at my uncle because he goes for Alabama. I also have a neighbor that goes for Alabama and I loved coming home and picking at him. It was just great rooting for my team."

Along with getting the chance to watch his favorite team pummel their arch-rival, Culpepper got to see a dominating performance from the Tigers' defensive line, which he says was very impressive.

"I like it knowing that I can go down there and be a part of that," he says about the Tigers' defense. "I feel like they have got a good defensive coach. It will be good because I should fit in really good and everything. Like I said, Marquies Gunn, he is one of the main reasons why I am going down there because when I go to college I will have somebody that I know and somebody to look to and to will show me the ropes of what is going on when I am down there."

Despite a bit of a slow start in the regular season, Culpepper and his Benjamin Russell team made a good run into the semi-finals of Alabama's 5A playoffs, and he says that experience brought something special out in him.

"Those last couple of games, I don't know what happened to me," he says. "Another side of me came out that I hadn't seen and I showed out those last couple of games. The defense did real well against Briarwood. We did good the whole playoffs really and I feel like we did really good going against Homewood. The defensive line was shutting down most of the run and getting a little pressure on their quarterback, but I'm going to give Homewood their credit because they have a really good line."

Currently, it looks as if Culpepper is headed toward making a commitment to Auburn, Goggans is committed to Tennessee and Hutchins is committed to Alabama. Culpeper says that all three of them may or may not being going their separate ways after graduation.

"It is interesting," he says about all three teammates looking to sign with different SEC schools. "But when signing day comes—it is going to be interesting when signing day comes."

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