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FRIDAY, JUNE 1, 2007
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It’s about making Momma proud
Athens all-star knows his mother is his biggest fan

By Bradley Handwerger
bhandwerger@decaturdaily.com · 340-2462

MOBILE — Alfred McCullough isn’t tiny. At 6-foot-3, 315 pounds, he casts a rather large shadow as a standout defensive lineman at Athens.

Off the field, though, he’s a little less menacing.

In fact, he’s a self-described “momma’s boy.”

Saturday night in Mobile’s Ladd-Peebles Stadium, McCullough will again make his mother proud.

The former Golden Eagle will be playing for Alabama in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic. The game starts at 7 p.m.

The feat is just another in a long line of accomplishments that have made Debra Jones happy.

“I always wanted to go to college since I was real little,” McCullough said “When I got to high school, and I figured out I had a chance to in high school, I just kept with it.”

The thing is, he didn’t just sign with any school. No, McCullough will play at Alabama this fall.

To think that McCullough would be playing at Alabama would probably shock a younger version of him.

“I grew up an Auburn fan,” McCullough said. “Once I got to the recruiting process, they (Auburn) weren’t looking at me. Alabama was on me hard, so I just had to convert over.”

He’s come a long way, and his mother has played a role every step of the journey.

Their relationship strengthened when McCullough was 3. A dump truck wrecked with a car the two were riding in.

“Everything on the right side of her body was broken,” McCullough said. “I’ve been helping her out since I was little. I was 3. When she got out of the hospital, I was 5 or 6.”

And now she’ll get to see him play his final high school football game before heading off to Tuscaloosa for summer school and workouts.

Staying focused shouldn’t be a problem for McCullough. Helping his mother throughout his childhood made sure of that.

“It kept me going,” he said. “I had to make sure to keep my head straight. She always told me, ‘Don’t do anything that’s going to hurt you in the
future.’ ”

Certainly his physical attributes will help him out on the college field.

Bill Clark, his coach for the week, likes what he sees out of the young lineman.

“Great feet,” said Clark, who regularly works as Prattville’s head coach.

“Very coachable and a good-natured kid.”

His own high school coach gave him higher marks.

“He’s a very comfortable person and does things the way they’re supposed to be done,” Athens head coach Allen Creasy said.

That work ethic will make McCullough stand out that much more than his body size.

“At this level, everybody is Alfred,” Creasy said. “You won’t have people stand out from an ability standpoint. It’s the guys who have worked the hardest and done things the way they are supposed to do it who are going to succeed. That’s the thing about Alfred.

“He’s always been head and shoulders above the rest.

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