Tulsa (Okla.) Memorial defensive tackle Novis Cullom has been an imposing figure in the trenches for the Chargers the last few years. As a standout defensive tackle/offensive tackle, the 6-3, 295-pounder has impacted opposing game plans on both sides of the ball.
It did not take long for college coaches to begin to show interest. Early on Arkansas State and Wyoming both wanted to offer, but Cullom's grades needed some improvement. Both schools let him know. The moments served as wake up calls.
"It was a real big eye opener," Cullom. "From my point of view I didn't think I was that good of a player. I just did it because everybody said I was big and to get out there. But I always wanted to go to college and I love football. So I decided to try it out. I didn't know I was going to be as good as I was. Then coaches started coming in and I was like my mom won't have to pay for college so I'll give it a shot and see how much I like it. Now I'm in love with football and it's all I think about 24/7."
Now Cullom says his grades are on the upswing and college coaches are staying in touch. Recently he received his first scholarship offer, and another could be on the way.
"I got offered by UCO (University of Central Oklahoma) a few weeks ago and Pitt State is pretty interested in me," Cullom said. "One of their coaches sent me a letter telling me to call and let them know if I was interested in the school and they were offering me."
The offer from UCO definitely caught his attention.
"I was surprised," Cullom said. "I've always thought about going to college and playing football. I didn't really care where it was at I just love to play football."
The UCO offer also caught his attention for another reason.
"UCO offered me for left tackle," Cullom said. "It was shocking it, was like 'wow.' Most schools think of me for defense, but to see they saw my offensive abilities was kind of shocking and surprising."
While the FBS schools have yet to offer Cullom continues to receive interest from several programs.
"Arkansas State, I haven't talked to coach Hall, but he told me he would be down for some games this season to see how I do," Cullom said. "And coach Shipp from OU he said he would also be down this year to see how I do. Coach Cink from Arkansas he told me he would be down to see how I do. It's going pretty good."
"I also have TU (Tulsa). When I was talking to the coach he said more than likely there going to offer soon, but he said they're really, really, really interested in me."
In 2011, Cullom visited Arkansas and Oklahoma three to four times during the season and also took an unofficial visit to Tulsa. In 2012, he attended Oklahoma's game against Kansas State last week and would like to attend games at Arkansas and Arkansas State.
It's safe to say all three programs have left a solid impression on Cullom.
"There's a lot of schools that are sending mail and emailing me, but my top four schools are probably OU, Arkansas, Arkansas State, and TU," he said.
At this point he is taking all the interest in and doing his best to take care of business on and off the field. Recruiting continues to move forward, and while Cullom has experienced some of the ups and downs already, he likes what the future has in store.
"It's exciting. It's a little stressful but exciting," Cullom said. "Just knowing I can play football is exciting."