Culler: "It's A Huge Relief"

WILMINGTON, N.C. -- As offseason workouts continue for Coult Culler and the rest of the E.A. Laney football team, the soon to be senior made a big decision Friday, setting the path for his continued development on the field and as a person.

After months of going back-and-forth with multiple offers sitting in front of him, Coult Culler put all options to rest with one phone call.

With the help of family, friends, coaches and other supporters, the six-foot, five-inch, 230-pound middle linebacker verbally committed to North Carolina State University in a brief, 10-minute conversation with defensive coordinator Dave Huxtable.

"Coach was definitely fired up and ready to get things going," said Culler. "The staff at NC State was a really big part in my decision. The relationship I've been able to build over the last few months that I've been in contact and the vision they have for the football program made me want to be a part of it."

Culler was the team-leader in tackles (139) during his junior year under Laney Coach Greg Ditz, which included 14 tackles for loss, while averaging 13.9 tackles per game.

The towering 16-year old was cool and composed during his announcement in the school's media center, but eager to see what the futures has in store for him. State ended up being the best fit for Culler for a few reasons from the classroom to the football field.

"The process was definitely a little stressful, but about two weeks ago I just knew it was time to make the announcement," said Culler. "State is close to my family, they had a great group of guys up there to show me around during my visit.

"I had a chance to me some of the other players that have committed and to know the type of people Coach Doeren is bringing into the program was really a big factor."

Even with some of the changes at State, with Doeren's hire as the new coach, the Laney standout was confident that he'll fit right into the system and be able to contribute on the defensive side of the ball.

"They want me playing right in the middle," he said. "I haven't really talked about what my role will be coming in, but I know they do have some guys at linebacker and at defensive end that will be graduating in the next year, so hopefully I'll continue to get stronger and put myself in a position to get in there as soon as possible."

For Ditz, it's been a pleasure to have the opportunity to coach such an outstanding athlete. The head of the Laney football program knew that no matter where Culler chose to go, it would be place that will benefit from Coult's character and work ethic.

"Ever since he showed up as a ninth-grader, I never thought a freshman would start on our football team, but he put in that effort from the first day of practice three years ago," said Ditz. "I know the coaches at State will take good care of him and will put him in the best position to succeed, whether that's coming right in, in playing, or working with him to get his body physically ready for the level of play he's going to see."

Friday's decision came as relief to his family and Culler alike, but one thing's for sure, he'll be ready for his senior season at Laney and even more prepared for his next step into the NC State football program in just about a year from now.

"It's a huge relief to finally be able to do this," said Culler. "My family and I have had many discussions about it and it's just an honor and a privilege to have this opportunity to be able to continue my football career, while also going to such a great institution like State.

"Now I can put all my attention and focus on the upcoming season, won't have to worry about this or that and continue to work hard to get me ready for the next level."

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