McCullough's 2,800 career yards put him eighth on USC's career rushing list (33rd on the Pac-10 list). He rushed for 100 yards 11 times in his career. He became the first Trojan since Charles White in 1977-79 to lead USC in rushing for 3 consecutive seasons.
McCullough, the 1999 Pac-10 champion in the 100-meter dash and the fastest player ever to wear a Trojan football uniform, rebounded from a season-ending injury in 2001 and was a key tailback for USC as a senior in 2002. He started 5 times in 2002 (Oregon State, Washington State, California, Washington and Notre Dame) and saw significant action as a backup in the other games. Overall in 2002 while appearing in all 13 games, he gained a team-best 814 yards on 179 carries (4.5 avg.) with 8 TDs, plus had 12 receptions for 69 yards (5.8 avg.), returned 2 kickoffs for 38 yards (19.0 avg.) and made a tackle. He had a pair of 100-yard rushing games in 2002. He won USC's Jack Oakie "Rise and Shine" Award for the longest run of the season (62 yards at Colorado). He was invited to play in the 2003 East-West Shrine Game and Rotary Gridiron Classic. He also has sprinted for the USC track team.
Against Auburn, he led USC with 58 rushing yards on 20 carries (he also caught a 10-yard pass and returned a kickoff 20 yards). He had a game-high 110 yards on 15 carries (his 10th career 100-yard outing), including a career-long 62-yard run for a TD, at Colorado. At Kansas State, he had a team-high 73 yards on 11 carries, including a 25-yard TD. He ran for a team-best 50 yards on 19 carries (he also caught 4 passes for 38 yards) against Oregon State and a team-best 62 yards on 13 tries at Washington State (with a 6-yard TD) and caught 2 passes for 12 yards. Against California, he equaled a career-high with 176 rushing yards (his 11th career 100-yard game) and had a touchdown on a career-best 39 carries (the most rushes by a Trojan since Steven Webster had 40 against Washington in 1987), plus he caught a 3-yard pass, to earn Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Week honors. He had 37 yards on 22 carries against Washington, added 16 yards on 2 carries at Oregon, 14 yards on 7 tries (with a 6-yard TD) at Stanford, added 69 yards on 4 tries (with a 59-yard burst) versus Arizona State, 29 yards on 7 tries at UCLA and ran for 44 yards on 8 tries (with an 11-yard TD) against Notre Dame. Against Iowa in the Orange Bowl, he ran for 76 yards on 12 carries and scored on a 5-yard TD run.
McCullough was aiming for a second consecutive 1,000-yard season as a tailback in 2001, but an injury cut short his junior campaign. Overall in 2001 while starting USC's first 6 games, he ran for team-best 410 yards on 115 carries (3.6 avg.) with 5 TDs and caught 6 passes for 100 yards (16.7 avg.) with a score. He had a pair of 100-yard outings in 2001. His 410 rushing yards were the lowest total to lead USC since Hal Tobin's 318 yards in 1960. He was listed as a candidate for the 2001 Doak Walker Award. But he sat out most of the Arizona State contest and all of the Notre Dame, Arizona, Oregon State, California, UCLA and Utah games with a strained abdominal muscle (he had surgery following the UCLA contest).
He rushed for 167 yards with 3 TDs (14, 35 and 7 yards) on 25 carries (all game highs) in the San Jose State opener (it was the most rushing yards by a Trojan in a season opener since Marcus Allen had 210 yards versus Tennessee in 1981, as well as McCullough's eighth 100-yard outing in his career and his first multi-TD game). He then scored USC's only touchdown (a 7-yard run) versus Kansas State while running for 40 yards on 18 carries. At Oregon, he ran 20 times for just 31 yards, but caught 3 passes for 84 yards, including a 75-yard TD (the longest reception of his career and the first career TD catch). He had just 32 yards on 16 carries against Stanford and caught 3 passes for 16 yards. At Washington, he had his second 100-yard outing of 2001 (ninth of his career) with a game-best 132 yards on a career-high 32 carries (the most by a Trojan since Chad Morton had 36 versus UCLA in 1999). He then suffered a strained abdominal muscle (it had been bothering him all season) late in the first quarter against Arizona State and had only 8 yards on 4 carries.
McCullough started at tailback as a sophomore in 2000 and had an outstanding season. Overall in 2000 while appearing in all 12 games, he ran for a team-high 1,163 yards on 227 carries (5.1 avg.) with 6 TDs and caught 9 passes for 25 yards (2.8 avg.). He started 10 games (he was slated to start the California game but hurt his ankle on the opening kickoff and didn't come in until the second series, and then came in early in the Notre Dame contest). His 1,163 rushing yards in 2000 tied him for 16th on USC's season rushing chart and was the 22nd time that a Trojan has eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark. It is the most rushing yards at USC since Mazio Royster's 1,168 in 1990. He reached the 1,000-yard plateau quicker (9 games) than any Trojan since Marcus Allen did so in his 1981 Heisman Trophy season (5 games). He had 7 100-yard games in 2000 (and in his career), including 4 in a row (128 versus Penn State and 136 versus San Jose State earlier in the year, then the 4-game string of 152 against Oregon, 130 at Stanford, 122 versus California and a career-high 176 at Arizona State, and then 105 at UCLA). It was the first time that a Trojan had 4 consecutive 100-yard outings since Ricky Ervins had 5 straight in 1989. His 7 100-yard outings were the most by a Trojan in a season since Ervins had 9 in 1989. He had long runs of 59, 51, 46, 39, 35 and 32 yards in 2000. He was named to the 2000 All-Pac-10 second team (the first Trojan tailback to win first or second team honors since 1989), plus The Sporting News All-Pac-10 first team and Football News All-Pac-10 first team. He also took a handoff on a kickoff against California and returned it 7 yards.
In his first-ever career start, he ran for 128 yards on 29 carries (both career highs) against Penn State (he also caught 3 passes for 16 yards) to gain Kickoff Classic MVP honors. Against Colorado, he ran for a team-best 91 yards on 28 carries and had a 5-yard TD run. He had 21 carries for a then-career-best 136 yards, both game highs, against San Jose State. At Oregon State, he had a team-best 33 yards on 10 carries before leaving early in the second half with a knee injury. He had just 32 yards on 13 tries against Arizona. Against Oregon, he ran for a then-career-best and game-high 152 yards on 23 carries and raced a personal-best 59 yards for a TD. He had a game-high 130 yards on just 11 carries at Stanford and scored on a 39-yard burst (he also had a 46-yard non-scoring jaunt). He had a game-best 122 yards on 15 carries, with a 32-yard TD, off the bench against California. At Arizona State, he ran for a career-best and game-high 176 yards on 23 carries (he had 103 yards by halftime) and had a 51-yard TD burst to open the game's scoring (it was the most rushing yards by a Trojan since Shawn Walters had 234 at Stanford in 1994 and put him over the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the season). He had 44 yards on 18 carries against Washington State. He ran for a game-high 105 yards on 26 carries with a 6-yard TD at UCLA. He had just 14 yards on 10 tries off the bench against Notre Dame.
McCullough was USC's No. 2 rusher as a back up to Chad Morton at tailback as a redshirt freshman in 1999. Overall in 1999 while appearing in all 12 games, he ran for 413 yards on 90 carries (4.6 avg.) with a TD. He also caught a 6-yard pass (at California). He won USC's Jack Oakie "Rise and Shine" Award for the longest run of the season (48 yards against UCLA). He missed the last half of 1999 spring practice because of academic issues.
At Hawaii, he ran for then-career-best 83 yards on 17 carries (with a 5-yard TD). He then gained 10 yards on 3 carries against San Diego State. His only carry at Oregon was for a 3-yard loss. He then had 17 yards on 4 rushes against Oregon State, 15 yards on 5 tries at Arizona, 13 yards on 6 carries at Notre Dame, 47 yards on 6 carries against Stanford, 37 yards on 7 rushes at California (he also caught a 6-yard pass), 8 yards on 2 carries against Arizona State and 38 yards on 10 carries at Washington State. He ran for 69 yards on 8 tries (with a USC season-long 48-yard pickup) against UCLA. Against Louisiana Tech, he had 79 yards on a then-career-best and a game-high 21 carries.
McCullough redshirted as a freshman tailback in 1998, his first year at USC.
McCullough has been a sprinter for the USC track team.
In the spring of 2002, he placed fifth in the 100 meters at the USC-UCLA Dual Meet (10.55) and ran the second leg of Troy's victorious 400-meter relay team (39.68) in that meet. He then ran 10.51 to win the 100 at the Occidental Invitational. At the Pac-10 Meet, he was second in the 100 (10.41, after going 10.49 in the heats) and ran the second leg on USC's winning 400-meter relay squad (39.44). He ran the second leg on USC's sprint relay team at the NCAA meet which finished fifth in 39.27 (the squad also was third in its heat in 39.28).
In the spring of 2001, he did not compete until after spring football drills. In his first meet of the season, he won the 100 meters at the USC-UCLA Dual Meet (10.28) and anchored the victorious 400-meter relay team (39.98). Then, at the Pac-10 Meet, he was second in the 100 meters (10.33, after running 10.27 in the heats) and anchored USC's winning 400-meter relay squad (39.74).
In the spring of 2000, he placed eighth in the 100 meters at the NCAA Championships in 10.38 (he equalled his career-best 10.17 while running fourth in the semifinals and ran a 10.26 for fourth in his heat). He won the 100 in the USC-UCLA Dual Meet (10.25) and in a heat at the Trojan Invitational (10.26), was second at USC's Centennial Invitational (10.22) and third at the ASU USTCA Meet (10.53). He won the 200 meters at the ASU USTCA Meet in 20.89. He strained his groin while running the 200 in the USC-UCLA Dual Meet and missed the Pac-10 Meet. He also ran a leg on the 400-meter relay squad (usually the second leg) which finished first at the Long Beach Relays (40.13), Trojan Invitational (40.08), USC's Centennial Invitational (season-best 39.18) and USC-UCLA Dual Meet (39.47), was second at the USTCA Invitational in Austin, Tex. (39.59) and was fifth at the NCAA Meet (39.54, after going 39.47 for fourth in a heat). He qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials 100, but did not compete.
In the spring of 1999, in his first race as a Trojan (on March 6), he set a USC freshman record and Cromwell Field record by winning the 100 meters in 10.17 in the Trojan Invitational. It was the fifth fastest time in Trojan history and the fastest ever by a USC runner before May (it was also the fastest ever by a Trojan footballer). It was also the fastest time recorded by a junior-level (under 20) sprinter in the world in 1999. He then won the 100 meters at the 1999 Pac-10 Championships in 10.18, tied for the fifth fastest winning time at the Pac-10 meet. He went 10.17 again in winning a 100 heat at the NCAA meet, but strained his left hamstring in the semifinals. He also ran the second leg on USC's Pac?10 champion 400?meter relay team and its second?place NCAA meet unit, and anchored the quartet to second place at the Texas Relays.
He was named a 1997 Super Prep All-American, Prep Star Dream Team, Prep Star All-American, USA Today All-USA second team, The Sporting News Top 100, Super Prep All-Farwest, Prep Star All-Western Region, Long Beach Press-Telegram Best in the West first team (unanimous), Cal-Hi Sports All-State second team, All-CIF Southern Section second team, All-CIF Division III first team, Los Angeles Times All-San Gabriel Valley Back of the Year and All-Pacific League Offensive MVP as a senior at Muir High in Pasadena (Calif.). In 1997, he rushed for 2,145 yards and 27 touchdowns on 215 carries (10.0 avg.). In one outing, he had 317 yards and 5 scores on just 9 carries (35.2 avg.).
As a junior in 1996, he made Cal-Hi Sports Junior All-State second team, All-CIF Division III first team, Los Angeles Times All-San Gabriel Valley first team, Pasadena Star News All-West Valley first team and All-Pacific League Offensive MVP. He ran for 2,100 yards and 35 TDs on 305 carries (6.9 avg.) and also caught 10 passes for 160 yards (16.0 avg.), plus made 19 tackles as a defensive back. Muir made it to the CIF Division III finals.
As a 1995 sophomore, he gained 631 yards with 6 TDs while being named All-Pacific League.
He also ran track at Muir, advancing to the finals in the 100 meters at the 1997 California state meet (he was favored to win, but a pulled hamstring prevented him from running). His best prep times were 10.41 in the 100 meters (10.24 wind-aided for the best time in the state and second fastest in the nation in 1997), 20.61 in the 200 meters (tops in the nation in 1997) and 45.8 in the 400 meters. He also anchored the nation's fastest 400-meter relay (40.2) and 1600-meter relay (1:08.2) squads in 1997. He twice was named a track All-American. Muir won 2 national and state track titles during his career.
He's a sociology major at USC. Sultan's brother, Saladin, was a tailback at Oregon in 1996 and 1997 who played in the XFL and NFL. His late father, Bruce, ran track at San Jose State in the 1960s. His mother, Mabel, played basketball on the 1959 state championship team at Booker T. Washington High in Texarkana, Ark. One of his sports heroes is ex-USC Heisman Trophy winner and former NFL star Marcus Allen.
SULTAN McCULLOUGH ON:
The advantage of speed: "Speed is what I was blessed with…I think I can run a 10 flat (in the 100)…It's hard to stop somebody when he's always at full-go and full-motion. It's hard to tackle him if he's always going hard because you don't know when he's going to cut or slip or slide or run you over. It's just hard to stop speed…But I don't use my speed yet like I should. I have speed, but I don't have quickness. I'm still learning about the tailback position…I'm so fast that I'm reading holes as I'm running. But I've learned that I should just go and let the offensive line make the holes. I need to attack…People in football at first thought of me as a sprinter. Early on, I never got a chance to show them any different. I'm getting that chance now."
Football versus track: "It's not my fault that I'm fast. People think I'm a track guy playing football. I want to get that off people's minds. I want to be a strong football player…I'm not a sprinter playing football. I'm a football player who also runs track. I know the quickest way to the end zone is through the defense. I can take the punishment. I've been doing it all my life…Football is my main sport. I'm just gathering confidence in myself running track and improving my speed…It's hard doing both sports, but I don't want to limit myself. Whatever you do, you try and open doors. You don't know what's going to pay off for you…I originally ran track at USC to make a name for myself while I was waiting my turn in football…The thing about track is you can do it all yourself, you don't need blockers or anybody else…I think I could be the best in the world in the 100, the world's fastest human. But I have to think of my future. You could get up at dawn every day for months, getting ready for the one big race, and then you pull something and you're not right that day, and it's over…But I want to be a professional football player, not a professional track runner. But I don't want to look too far into the future. Anything can happen. I have to stay focused and keep praying…During the spring, switching back and forth is tough. One day you're running up high with your knees up and the next you're running down low and taking hits. It's different…People don't realize that if you run track, you have to be tough. If you're not tough, you'll quit. When a person running with you challenges you, you'll either be a winner or a quitter. Track is 90 percent mental. It prepares you for anything in life. And that's how it is on the football field, too. If you want to win, you'll do anything to win. So for me, the two go hand in hand…I like being bigger than those other little sprinters, intimidating them."
His philosophy: "When I'm out there, I have to make a play. There are a lot of plays out there that should be touchdowns and big catches…I want to be the type of back to get a lot of yards on every play…All I need is a crease."
His determination: "People always tell me what I can't do and I want to prove I can do anything I set my mind to…I want to be the next star, the next running back, the next go-to guy…It's my dream to be the next Marcus or the next O.J. or the next Deion, where I walk around and everyone knows me. I want to walk through a door and have everybody say, 'That's Sultan McCullough.' I want it so I can go to certain places because of who I am. But I don't want to be in the limelight. I want to stay low-key."
His toughness: "People who don't know me want to see how tough I can be. They say, 'He has so much speed but he doesn't have enough toughness to carry the rock.' That's just talk. They don't know me and what's inside me. You can't judge a book by its cover."
His dedication: "I don't party. I just sit at home. I have such a big family that when I go home, it's like a big party anyway. To be at the top in sports, you have to really prepare yourself. You can't just go out and eat chili fries and drink soda. It requires constant discipline."
His athletic family: "It's kind of cool to come from an athletic family. There was lots of competition growing up. All my brothers played sports. It's good to have the talent, but I know I have to use it right. I need to use it to my advantage because you never know when it won't be there."
His brother, Saladin: "He's a much, much better back than me. It's a proven fact. If I can do it, Saladin can do it twice as well. If I get 100 yards, it means he would have gained 200 yards…If I do something good, it's showing everyone how good he is…We both have speed, but he has that God's gift. He's a pure running back."
The difference between high school and college football: "I discovered that high school football isn't college football. I learned that I wasn't big enough to break tackles in college. And if you're going to make it in college, you at least have to break that first tackle…So I got into weight training in a big way."
His first name: "Growing up, I didn't know what my name meant. I asked my mom and she told me it meant 'King.' I thought I was kind of special. I thought I couldn't die. I thought I could endure pain. Then I got beat up a few times and found out that wasn't true."
WHAT OTHERS SAY:
Oregon head coach Mike Bellotti: "There's no question that the speed factor with Sultan McCullough is scary. You have to play great defense, you have to cancel gaps and you have to take the proper leverage angles. Your pursuit has to be almost perfect. If you leave a seam open, he can hit that seam and be gone."
Saladin McCullough, his brother: "It's scary what he's going to be. He's a home run hitter every time he touches the ball."
USC head track coach Ron Allice: "He's such an amazing athlete. He will do very, very well in football, because he's not only quick, but he's tough. Can you imagine a sweep where he takes the pitch and turns the corner? Watch out…He's probably as gifted a track athlete as I've ever had. He does this on a part-time basis and is one of the premier college sprinters in America. To run in the low 10s is phenomenal. I hate to think what would happen if he did it full time…His work ethic is good. He oozes confidence. He is a tremendous competitor and he'll let you know that. One of the things people don't realize is he really wants to be better at everything he does. It's not just talk…They say he's intimidating sometimes verbally. He wants to prove he's the best. But Sultan can back it up. There are a lot of people who talk and deep down don't believe it. Sultan believes he can do it."
USC assistant track coach John Henry Johnson: "Sultan is a fiery competitor. He is definitely a game-day guy. He has this knack, this talent. The things he doesn't do right in practice all week long he somehow manages to do right on race day. Some athletes are flat on the day of competition. They get insecure. Sultan is the exact opposite."
|1999 (Fr.)…|| 90|| 413|| 4.6|| 1||48|| 1|| 6|| 6.0|| 0|| 6|
|2000 (So.)…||227||1163|| 5.1|| 6||59|| 9|| 25|| 2.8|| 0|| 7|
|2001 (Jr.)…||115|| 410|| 3.6|| 5||35|| 6||100||16.7|| 1||75|
|2002 (Sr.)…||179|| 814|| 4.5|| 8||62|| 12|| 69|| 5.8|| 0||17|
|CAREER…….||611||2800|| 4.6||20||62|| 28||200|| 7.1|| 1||75|
|2000 (So.)…|| 0|| 7|| 0.0|| 0|| 7|| 0|| 0/0|| 0|| 0|
|2002 (Sr.)…|| 2|| 38||19.0|| 0||20|| 1|| 0/0|| 0|| 0|
|CAREER…….|| 2|| 45||22.5|| 0||20|| 1|| 0/0|| 0|| 0|
|GAME-BY-GAME WITH SULTAN McCULLOUGH|
|Auburn|| 20|| 58|| 2.9|| 1||15|| 1|| 10||10.0|| 0||10|
|Colorado|| 15||110|| 7.3|| 1||62|| 0|| 0|| 0.0|| 0|| 0|
|Kansas State|| 11|| 73|| 6.6|| 1||25|| 1|| 1|| 1.0|| 0|| 1|
|Oregon State*|| 19|| 58|| 3.1|| 0||11|| 4|| 38|| 9.0|| 0||17|
|Wash. State*|| 13|| 62|| 4.8|| 1||15|| 2|| 12|| 6.0|| 0||10|
|California*|| 39||176|| 4.5|| 1||29|| 1|| 3|| 3.0|| 0|| 3|
|Washington*|| 22|| 37|| 1.7|| 0|| 8|| 0|| 0|| 0.0|| 0|| 0|
|Oregon|| 2|| 16|| 8.0|| 0||20|| 0|| 0|| 0.0|| 0|| 0|
|Stanford|| 7|| 14|| 2.0|| 1|| 6|| 1|| 8|| 8.0|| 0|| 8|
|Arizona State|| 4|| 69||17.3|| 0||59|| 0|| 0|| 0.0|| 0|| 0|
|UCLA|| 7|| 29|| 4.1|| 0||10|| 1|| -5||-5.0|| 0||-5|
|Notre Dame*|| 8|| 44|| 5.5|| 1||11|| 1|| 2|| 2.0|| 0|| 2|
|Iowa (Orange)|| 12|| 76|| 6.3|| 1||31|| 0|| 0|| 0.0|| 0|| 0|
|2002 (Sr.)…||179||814|| 4.5|| 8||62|| 12|| 69|| 5.8|| 0||17|
|San Jose St.*|| 25||167|| 6.7|| 3||35|| 0|| 0|| 0.0|| 0|| 0|
|Kansas State*|| 18|| 40|| 2.2|| 1||12|| 0|| 0|| 0.0|| 0|| 0|
|Oregon*|| 20|| 31|| 1.6|| 0|| 9|| 3|| 84||28.0|| 1||75|
|Stanford*|| 16|| 32|| 2.0|| 1||14|| 3|| 16|| 5.3|| 0||10|
|Washington*|| 32||132|| 4.1|| 0||15|| 0|| 0|| 0.0|| 0|| 0|
|Arizona State*|| 4|| 8|| 2.0|| 0|| 5|| 0|| 0|| 0.0|| 0|| 0|
|2001 (Jr.)…||115||410|| 3.6|| 5||35|| 6||100||16.7|| 1||75|
|Penn State*|| 29|| 128|| 4.4|| 0||24|| 3|| 16|| 5.3|| 0|| 7|
|Colorado*|| 28|| 91|| 3.2|| 1||13|| 1|| -3|| -3.0|| 0||-3|
|San Jose St.*|| 21|| 136|| 6.5|| 0||35|| 0|| 0|| 0.0|| 0|| 0|
|Oregon State*|| 10|| 33|| 3.3|| 0|| 9|| 0|| 0|| 0.0|| 0|| 0|
|Arizona*|| 13|| 32|| 2.5|| 0||11|| 0|| 0|| 0.0|| 0|| 0|
|Oregon||*|| 23|| 152|| 6.6|| 1||59|| 1|| 4|| 4.0|| 0|| 4|
|Stanford*|| 11|| 130||11.8|| 1||46|| 3|| 7|| 2.3|| 0|| 5|
|California|| 15|| 122|| 8.1|| 1||32|| 0|| 0|| 0.0|| 0|| 0|
|Arizona State*|| 23|| 176|| 7.7|| 1||51|| 1|| 1|| 1.0|| 0|| 1|
|Wash. State*|| 18|| 44|| 2.4|| 0||16|| 0|| 0|| 0.0|| 0|| 0|
|UCLA*|| 26|| 105|| 4.0|| 1||17|| 0|| 0|| 0.0|| 0|| 0|
|Notre Dame|| 10|| 14|| 1.4|| 0|| 6|| 0|| 0|| 0.0|| 0|| 0|
|2000 (So.)…||227||1163|| 5.1|| 6||59|| 9|| 25|| 2.8|| 0|| 7|
|Hawaii|| 17|| 83|| 4.9|| 1||15|
|San Diego St.|| 3|| 10|| 3.3|| 0|| 8|
|Oregon|| 1|| -3||-3.0|| 0||-3|
|Oregon State|| 4|| 17|| 4.3|| 0|| 7|
|Arizona|| 5|| 15|| 3.0|| 0|| 9|
|Notre Dame|| 6|| 13|| 2.2|| 0|| 9|
|Stanford|| 6|| 47|| 7.8|| 0||26|
|California|| 7|| 37|| 5.3|| 0||10|
|Arizona State|| 2|| 8|| 4.0|| 0|| 6|
|Wash. State|| 10|| 38|| 3.8|| 0|| 7|
|UCLA|| 8|| 69|| 8.6|| 0||48|
|La. Tech|| 21|| 79|| 3.8|| 0||16|
|1999 (Fr.)…|| 90|| 413|| 4.6|| 1||48|