Junior offensive lineman Jackson McCullough found out two weeks before training camp last year that Humboldt State, a Division II school on the Northern California coast, was dropping football.
“It was very sad at the time,” he said after Wednesday’s UNLV practice at Rebel Park. “I had transferred there from a Division I school, Colorado State. I just thought things were right at the time.”
McCullough considered leaving Humboldt for a junior college, but discovered there was no sit-out penalty to transfer to an FBS school when a program is cut. UNLV coaches saw his highlight video late last season and contacted him.
“I absolutely fell in love with the coaches,” McCullough said. “They made me feel like family. They made me feel comfortable. I fell in love with the whole program.”
UNR and Portland State also offered a scholarship, and Boise State and San Diego State showed interest.
“This is the best program I’ve ever been around,” McCullough said of UNLV. “I really love how hard we work here and the rebuild and how everybody has taken me in as teammates.”
McCullough is second on the depth chart at left tackle behind sophomore Ashton Morgan.
“He’s a guy that we brought in to give us some depth and help us win games right away,” said Garin Justice, the offensive line coach and offensive coordinator. “So far, he’s going through that learning curve. He’s learning the way we practice, our techniques, playbook, things like that. So his development’s a little behind compared to some guys who have been here, but he’s a guy we expect to play this season.”
Ashton Morgan, So., 6-5, 305
Jackson McCullough, Jr., 6-6, 320
Matt Brayton, Jr., 6-3, 310
Ryan Tantum, Jr., 6-4, 315
Sid Acosta, Sr., 6-1, 300
Julio Garcia II, Jr., 6-3, 320
Justin Polu, Sr., 6-4, 335
Jackson Reynolds, So., 6-0, 275
Justice Oluwaseun, So., 6-3, 325
Jaron Caldwell, Sr., 6-4, 335
■ Junior cornerback Alex Perry, who went to Bishop Gorman High School, appears out for the season because of a shoulder injury sustained last year. Coach Tony Sanchez said Perry probably will need another surgery.
Also, junior defensive lineman Tavai Tuitasi (knee) could return after the bye week in mid-September. Junior defensive back Tykenzie Daniels (knee) should return at some point this season.
■ Florida graduate transfer linebacker Rayshad Jackson is expected to be eligible to practice Thursday. He has been waiting for his graduation to be made official.
■ Former Gorman star quarterback Tate Martell missed Monday’s practice after not winning Miami’s starting job, according to 247Sports. The Miami Herald reported that Martell since has rejoined the team.
Sanchez was Martell’s coach at Gorman.
“I think the world of the kid,” Sanchez said. “I’m not as informed as most people. I don’t talk to him on a daily basis. I haven’t talked to him in a while, quite honestly. I wish him nothing but the best.”