After leading his team to a 6-0 start, and not having one close game in that stretch, Tampa Bay Hillsborough running back Ronnie McCullough had visions of a state championship in his mind.
But in the third quarter of the sixth game, after rushing for 153 yards on 12 carries, McCullough was pulled down by the collar of his neck, with his foot stuck in the ground. The result was a season-ending knee injury (patella tendon). He had surgery on the knee last week, and will be sidelined at least 6-8 months.
"It was very disappointing, because I feel like we could have competed for the state championship this year (Hillsborough has already lost a game without McCullough)," McCullough said. "I hadn't played a whole game yet this season. I would play the first half, maybe the third quarter, but I didn't play a whole game because we were beating teams so bad."
McCullough was averaging more than 125 yards a game rushing, with 10 touchdowns and nearly 60 tackles at linebacker. Now he is beginning to consider a decision he wasn't going to approach until after the season – where to take official visits.
He has been offered scholarships by Pittsburgh, Purdue, Connecticut, Central Florida, South Florida, Florida Atlantic and Wisconsin. None of those schools have backed off since the injury, including the Badgers.
"I like Wisconsin. The coach came down here, I talked to him, very friendly coach," McCullough said. "I get a lot of mail from them, I talk to Coach (Brian) Murphy a lot on the phone. I'm interested in them. They've got my attention."
While several of the schools that have offered him are in his home state, McCullough said distance plays no role in his decision. The main factors include whether schools have his major (physical therapy) and where he feels most comfortable.
"If you're going to be somewhere for 4-5 years, you have to make sure it's a place you're going to feel comfortable, because that's going to be my home," McCullough said. "The initial thought was to just wait until after the season is over (to announce official visits). But since I've had this injury, my family and I probably have time to sit down and discuss it. We haven't talked about it yet because of my surgery I just had. We're pretty much focused on that right now. But in the near future, we should probably make some decisions."
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