Junior College OT Interested In Tigers

This offensive tackle from California talks about getting an offer from the Auburn Tigers.

Fullerton, Calif.--It's no secret that the Auburn Tigers are looking for immediate help along the offensive line and one of the ways to make that happen is by going the junior college route.

During the spring evaluation period, a player getting attention from the Tigers is big John Cullen from Fullerton College.

A 6-6, 285-pounder, Cullen received offers from Louisville and Kansas with schools such as Arizona State, Oregon State and UCLA all showing interest, but he says his recruiting picked up recently when he got an offer from the Auburn Tigers from the Southeastern Conference.

"The offer was great, it was a great thing," Cullen tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "I know about Auburn a little bit, but not too much. I know it's the big-time in the SEC. I know about the Iron Bowl, the rivalry with Alabama."

Being recruited for the Tigers by offensive line coach Jeff Grimes, Cullen says that Auburn's lack of depth on the offensive line, and particularly at the tackle position, is one of the reasons he's taking a hard look at the Tigers.

"He's just told me they are looking for offensive linemen," Cullen notes. "He said they're looking for somebody to come in and compete to work for playing time. That's what I'm looking for. Last year I was looking for a place to go in and start, but now I realize I want to go to a big-time school and prove myself and leave it all out on the field."

Playing 2,000 miles from home might not be appealing for some prospects. How does the lineman feel about the distance from California to Auburn? "It's not a really big deal for me," Cullen notes. "I have really been looking to get out of California."

A native of Lamirada, Calif., Cullen says that he originally planned to sign with a Division I school out of high school, but was forced to go the junior college route because of a mistake with his credits in high school.

"My biggest problem is that everyone thought I was a qualifier because my grades were fine," Cullen says. "I was actually half a credit short. I found out about week 10 of the football season that I wasn't going to qualify."

A starter last season for Fullerton in his first year in junior college, Cullen played in every game for his team and graded out well enough to be considered one of the top junior college offensive tackles heading into his sophomore season. With several offers on the table, Cullen says that he's looking for several things to help him make up his mind on his future.

"One of the biggest things for me is I want to go to a well-respected program with lots of tradition," Cullen says. "That's really big for me. I just want a place where I can come in and be comfortable with the coaching staff and get along with the players I want to be able to enjoy myself off the field."

In high school Cullen says in addition to playing football he also participated in track and field and was a rugby player for five years before deciding on football full time.

He will have three seasons to play two on the next level. He notes that he was hoping to be a mid-year graduate and enroll in the school of his choice in January, but was recently informed that he may instead be a spring graduate in 2010.

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