Wait-and-See Approach

January has been a hectic month for Fayetteville, Ark., wide receiver Brad Culp.

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Culp received little recruiting interest over his senior season at Fayetteville High School, despite being named a first team All-State selection. Actually, Culp doubted he'd ever receive any real attention from prospective colleges.

Then the calendar turned to 2012.

In three weeks time, the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Culp has heard from a number of schools, namely Ole Miss, North Carolina and Arkansas State -- three schools transitioning to new head coaches. Each school has extended Culp a scholarship.

"It's picked up a lot in the last month. Like, 10 times more than my whole senior year," Culp said. "I've heard from a lot of people to just enjoy it, ‘cause it's the only time you're going to get this.

"In the next six months, wherever I go, they're not going to be this nice to me. They're going to be yelling and screaming at my ass to go faster. I might as well enjoy it while they're trying to get me to come. I'm going to take it easy and not get too worked up over things. It's a big decision."

Culp said Thursday night he will decide on a school after taking official visits over the next two weeks, leading to Feb. 1, the opening day for prospects to sign a national letter of intent.

However, it isn't a lock Culp will sign on National Signing Day.

"I really have no idea. It's really one of the hardest decisions I've made in my life. It's neck-and-neck, I'd have to say," he said. "Ole Miss might be a little bit ahead. I honestly don't know until I take my visits. I can't tell you where I'm going to end up.

"I'm kind of just taking it easy right now and not worrying too much. I'm just going to take all these visits and figure out after I take all these visits what I want in a college. I honestly don't know, to tell you the truth."

Brad Culp
File Photo

Ole Miss got involved in his recruitment about a month ago.

The first coaches to contact Culp were then-Ole Miss wide receivers coach Gunter Brewer, leading the transition team from Houston Nutt to Hugh Freeze, and former Ole Miss coordinator of recruiting development Justin Crouse.

"Ole Miss is an SEC school. Playing football, that's the best thing you can ask for," Culp said.

Culp set up his official visit with Crouse, for the weekend of Jan. 20. Brewer was also heavily involved in recruiting Culp to Ole Miss.

However, not long after his initial contact with Culp, he left Ole Miss for North Carolina, rejoining Larry Fedora, who coached with Brewer at Oklahoma State.

Predictably, Brewer, acting on behalf of North Carolina, quickly reached out to Culp and offered a scholarship. Culp was visited by North Carolina Thursday at his school.

"North Carolina, I like the facilities," Culp said. "The stadium's pretty nice. (UNC wide receivers coach) Walt Bell actually came and visited me and showed me a bunch of pictures on his iPad of the whole campus. Everything looked pretty awesome. It's a beautiful campus."

Culp, as expected, will visit Ole Miss this weekend. Culp said he will "most likely" visit North Carolina a week later. "Arkansas State wants me to come down next weekend, too. I'm not sure what I'm doing yet," he said.

Arkansas State is intriguing to Culp due primarily to the school's hiring of former Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn as its head coach. Malzahn was the head coach of Springdale High School in Springdale, Ark., from 2001-05.

"Coach Malzahn, I've been watching him since I was a little kid," he said. "Me and my dad would go watch him at the Springdale games. I loved watching his teams. I've always kept up with him my whole life. That'd be the reason I'd go to Arkansas State, because of him."

Culp finished his senior season with 65 receptions for 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns. He rushed for 300 yards, as Fayetteville ended the year 12-2 and won the AHSAA 7A championship.

"I'm a perfectionist," he said. "I like to do everything the right way. I don't like quitting. That's one thing I'm completely against. The only thing I like to hear is I can't do something. That motivates me to do stuff. When people told us we couldn't beat Bidville in the state championship, I loved hearing that ‘cause I knew as a team we could."

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