Walk-on Looks to Start Home Opener

Living a dream held by many who don't earn a scholarship, this Bearcat is looking for a starting role when the Bearcats open the 2005 season against Eastern Michigan.

In 2004, a Grand Rapids Junior College middle linebacker transferred to UC, but this player was not promised a scholarship. Instead, he was promised only a chance to prove himself and possibly earn that free education. It didn't take long for the incumbent middle linebacker, Jamar Enzor, to give the kid a nickname-Simba. Enzor thought the juco had the same eyes as Disney's Lion King, and the talent to eventually replace him as the king of the Bearcat defense. A year later, Enzor is beginning to look like a prophet.

With only 9 more practice days before the Bearcat opener against Eastern Michigan, Kevin McCullough remains penciled in as the starter at middle linebacker, and he couldn't be more pleased. "I couldn't ask for things to go any better. I've put a lot of work into this, and the coaches told me last spring that the best players would play regardless of who has a scholarship. I've really worked my butt off and have tried to do what I can do to win a starting spot. So far I've done that."

This 240-245 pound linebacker feels he brings many positives to the field. "I bring enthusiasm for sure and leadership. On the field I'm good against the run, and I know this defense. I can help get other people in the right spots, and because I know this defense so well, I can play fast."

Many Bearcat football fans are amazed at the quality of the walk-ons on this squad. Kevin knows there's plenty of competition for earning his scholarship. "There's a bunch of people in my boat right now. All you can do is keep working."

What would earning a scholarship mean to Kevin? " It would mean everything. My brother and my sister earned scholarships right away. (Kevin's brother played football at Miami, Oh., and his sister played volleyball there) I've had to work a little harder, but that's been good for me. I know my parents would really appreciate it too."

Last season Kevin appeared in only a handful of games usually on special teams so starting in the opener would almost be overwhelming. "I'd have to take a deep breath and remember how I got there."

The team doesn't practice again until Monday, and it will start game planning for Eastern Michigan on Tuesday so Kevin expects starters to be named very soon. BCI told our members about Kevin last spring, and this writer is hoping to see #52 take his position at middle linebacker to start the game on September 1st. There is no question in my mind that Simba is ready to take his rightful spot as leader of his pride of Bearcats just as Jamar Enzor predicted.

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