You won't find the name Jeraill McCuller on many recruiting lists and it's a fairly safe bet the NC State coaches would have been just as happy if it remained that way. However, word has started to circulate about the 6-7, 300 pound offensive tackle and he could emerge as a major offensive line target for numerous schools as the year wears on.
One of the primary reasons McCuller has operated under the radar is because of frequently moving to various locations over the last several years. He lived in North Carolina until the fifth grade before moving to Detroit, Mich. He stayed there for three years before coming back to North Carolina for six months. McCuller then returned to Detroit before moving to Chesapeake, Va for his senior year in high school. He will attend Atlantic Shores Christian School.
With a self-reported 40-yard dash time of 5.1 seconds and bench press of 325 pounds, McCuller talked about what he feels has made him attractive to college scouts and what part of his game he feels most comfortable with currently.
"I'm just like, when that ball is snapped- just go get it," said McCuller. "I like to just put my helmet on them and if I can't pancake them, I like to just drive them until the whistle blows.
"I like to look at it that my specialty is pass blocking because I'll let the defender come at an angle and I'll push out on him and that usually kinds of stuns them. Then, they'll either fall down or I'll just ride them out past the QB."
This summer McCuller attended camps at NC State, Virginia Tech, Maryland and Michigan State. He performed well enough at State that the Wolfpack coaches offered a scholarship shortly after camp. The senior lineman stated that he came away thoroughly impressed with the attention shown him- particularly from the Pack's offensive line coach.
"I just felt like the coaches were all about me. Like coach Barry (NC State OL coach Mike Barry) was a great guy but I felt like he was all about me. He just seemed to have a great interest in me.
"I just liked the environment. It was a hard working environment but it wasn't all about work. They cared about you as a person as well and I liked that a whole lot.
"Coach Diaz, he's recruiting me and he's just an up front guy. He's not going to sugar coat it and he's not going to take away. He just tells you up front what he sees and what the possible outcome would be if I came to NC State. He told me when the good lord tells me NC State, just give him a call."
In addition to the Pack, McCuller is receiving heavy attention from Maryland, Michigan State, Virginia Tech, Virginia, UNC, South Carolina, East Carolina, Colorado, UCLA and Syracuse. The Hokies, in particular, seemed to take a keen interest after learning about NC State's decision to offer a scholarship.
"I called the Virginia Tech coach (Hokie OL coach Bryan Stinespring) and as soon as he heard NC State had offered, he was like, I'll be getting back in touch as soon as possible," said McCuller. "It seemed like he got really interested all of a sudden."
With a relative late start to recruiting, McCuller has formed a tentative top five with the Pack currently on top.
"My top five right now is NC State, Michigan State, Maryland, Virginia Tech and South Carolina," said McCuller. "NC State is showing me the most love. I mean, at the end of the day, they are the only one that's offered so far but that goes a long way in my book. I'm not going to make a commitment right now because I want to see how everything plays out. But it's a good feeling knowing that they see something in me and have jumped on me and I appreciate that.
"NC State, right now, is No. 1 but I'm real happy with how things are going so I'm just going to let it play out so we'll see what happens."
McCuller has been invited to several games this fall on unofficial visits but says he plans to make his trips to the various schools that offer on official visits later this year.
As he works for even more scholarship offers during his senior season, McCuller is fairly sure of what he'll be looking for when it comes time to settle on a school.
"Well, my family lives in NC and I've lived in Detroit and Virginia so being close to home isn't a big factor," he said. "My main focus is what school will prepare me for the next level whether that be in the NFL or going out to work. So I'm really looking for which school I can benefit from most."
McCuller plans to make a commitment by mid-January but added that he could commit at any time should he go to a school and come away feeling that school is the perfect place for him.