Photo via Dasan McCullough on Twitter

IU football freshman Dasan McCullough makes big impression in first scrimmage

He’s the highest ranked recruit in program history, and Dasan McCullough might be ready to make a splash in year one.

At the very least, McCullough made an impression on the Big Ten Network crew that was in Bloomington on Friday for the team’s first scrimmage.

The son of former running backs coach Deland McCullough, it wasn’t clear where on the field Indiana would try to plug in the Bloomington High School South product.  He was originally thought of as a safety, but after he grew to 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, McCullough could be either a linebacker or a stand-up defensive end in college.

Based on what the BTN crew saw on Friday, it sounds like McCullough could be training at least in part for the latter, and a position the IU program calls the “bull” in head coach Tom Allen’s 4-2-5 scheme.

“There was a player on the defensive line, McCullough, that really caught our eye,” BTN’s Joshua Perry said.

Indiana struggled to get pressure on the quarterback last year, and McCullough gave the impression on Friday that he may be someone who can change that in 2022.

BTN’s Howard Griffith broke into the smile of someone who had just witnessed a special player on the football field.

“What jumps out immediately is the body type.  He’s long, can really rush the passer,” Griffith said of McCullough.

“He’s gonna spend some more time in the weight room because he’s young.  But I think he’s going to develop, and when you talk about him being an elite pass rusher, I think he has that skill set in him.  He’s gonna be one of those guys that they might not have thought was going to be a huge contributor on the defensive line, but it looks like he’s going to be a big part of the packages that they run.”

McCullough was a consensus four-star prospect (ESPN, 247Sports, Rivals), rated as the 40th prospect nationally, the No. 4 outside linebacker nationally, and the No. 1 prospect in Indiana by ESPN. As a senior at South he totaled 55 tackles, 45 solo, three sacks, six for loss, and two interceptions in 2021.

IU coach Tom Allen hinted at Big Ten media day McCullough could be a contributor this year.

“We expect him to have  an opportunity to help us and see his development and see how he responds to playing Big Ten football,” Allen said a couple weeks ago, before having a chance to see him at fall camp.

McCullough was originally an Ohio State commit before his father left the Kansas City Chiefs for a second stint as the IU running backs coach.  When Deland left IU again, this time to take the same job at Notre Dame, there was some speculation Dasan would follow, and the youngest McCullough, class of 2023 safety Daeh, did in fact decommit from the Hoosiers.

But Dasan stated his intent to stay at Indiana and has stood by that pronouncement.  His oldest brother Deland II also stayed with IU but had to give up the game for medical reasons.  So now there is just one McCullough left standing at IU after it appeared there could be four in the program.

It isn’t exactly the story many Indiana fans had hoped for.  But the Hoosiers still have Dasan, and there are early signs that he will live up to his rankings as a recruit.

“Just from an athletic skills standpoint, you can’t teach that height,” Perry said.  “He’s got really good ability to bend.  He’s explosive off the line of scrimmage.

“We know how important it is, especially in this conference, to have a guy that can consistently apply pressure, and you know that they’re (Indiana) going to have that.”


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