"The night before, I ate a good meal and just laid it down early," said Pulliam. "I knew I had to have a good mindset on the game. [Heading into the game] I knew I was going to do well."
Pulliam, a 5-foot-11 175-pounder, shut down Hemingway, not allowing the Scout.com four-star Michigan commit to catch a single pass all night long.
"Really, I just pressed," said Pulliam. "I just kept composure. I knew I had to keep my mind on him; I had to stay in his hips; and just try to deny the pass."
While that game put him on the map, Pulliam's play throughout the remainder of the year grabbed the attention of coaches from Auburn, East Carolina, Michigan State, North Carolina, and Virginia. Pulliam ended the season with five interceptions and two fumble recoveries.
"Darryl is a true corner; he showed that against Junior Hemingway," said Motsinger. "He's very physical – we walk him up press. He's very athletic – you can see that on the basketball court. He could play wide receiver, he could play quarterback – he's that athletic. But his main position is corner."
Pulliam, who is cousins with ACC basketball Player-of-the-Year Jared Dudley of Boston College, also plays for New Hanover's basketball team where he averaged seven points-per-game. Pulliam is also an important part of New Hanover's track squad.
Motsinger will take advantage of Pulliam's athletic ability this fall by filling him in at quarterback at times to give the New Hanover offense a change of pace.
"We're going to try to get the ball in his hands because of his athletic ability," said Motsinger. "We're a shotgun team – similar to West Virginia. When he's in there, it will give that running threat [at quarterback]."
When not under center, Pulliam will be one of the main receiving options. However, his main contribution will be at cornerback, again locking down opponents' top receivers.
After moving to Wilmington from San Diego as a middle schooler, Pulliam became a fan of Clemson.
"I've been wanting to go there since I was like eleven," said Pulliam. "Right now it is [my favorite school]. I just like the tradition. They have a prestigious program. I like the way they just run down the hill and go to war.
"I also like Auburn and [North] Carolina; those would be my secondary schools."
While Pulliam is looking to make a verbal commitment sooner rather than later, he said he will research each interested school thoroughly before making a final decision.
"It depends with offers," said Pulliam. "I do want to commit early, but I want to visit and see how the atmospheres are."
Track and a state championship run in basketball have prevented Pulliam from attending junior days this spring, but he did unofficially visit North Carolina for the South Florida game last season.
"I had a good time," said Pulliam. "I took my mother. She had never been to a college football game – I hadn't either – so it was a good experience."
In addition to returning to UNC, Pulliam is hoping to make visits to Michigan State and Clemson before the end of the summer.