Steelers’ Daniel McCullers drops from 414 pounds to a svelte 352

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Most football players bulk up significantly between high school and the NFL, but for Steelers rookie defensive tackle Daniel McCullers, the key to becoming a professional was turning pro.

McCullers weighed 414 pounds during his senior year in high school, and the major college football programs weren’t interested in him. So he enrolled at Georgia Military College, and that turned out to be just the thing he needed.

“Waking up 5 o’clock every morning, running, working out with military officers, having formation every morning, marching every day, wearing uniforms,” McCullers told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I did it all. At first, I thought it was a lot with the uniform and everything, but it was my only option.”

By the time the 6-foot-7 McCullers had spent two years at Georgia Military College, he had lost more than 50 pounds and had plenty of scholarship offers, and he ended up at Tennessee. He played well enough there that the Steelers took him in the sixth round of the NFL draft, and at 352 pounds, he looks like he’s just the right size to play nose tackle in Pittsburgh.

62 responses to “Steelers’ Daniel McCullers drops from 414 pounds to a svelte 352

  1. I highly doubt he’s gonna be able to be an effective NT at 6’7, that’s just too tall. In Pittsburgh’s scheme the NT will have to take on blockers and be stout, be built like a fire plug. The taller you are the easier it is to move you around. He might want to gain back the weight to be a truly effective NT (which I would not recommend) or lose more weight and switch over to DE (a la Aaron Smith).

  2. I think he probably would have benefited from a switch to RT at some point in his career. I think he’s got excellent size and quickness to play the position. His biggest weakness is that he doesn’t have the ability to consistently chase the ball carrier down the line of scrimmage, and playing RT would make that point moot.

  3. Man, that’s a BIG dude! Good for him. A lot of people think it’s “the bigger the better” for lineman, but you have to take into account the power to weight ratio. If you’re a NT then bulk and power are a little more important than speed, but DEs and even DTs have to have speed too, and I’d imagine it’s not easy to accelerate 414 pounds from a standstill to full speed. Besides, 352 pounds is plenty.

  4. Did they say he lost weight in the offseason? Impossible.

    – Ravens Conditioning Coach

  5. He’s two inches taller than Roethlisberger, but he’ll have to eat more if he ever wants to equal him in weight. Sorry. I couldn’t resist.
    Seriously, with such imposing size, there’s got to be a spot for him on the roster. RT in a 3-4 defense? Sure. Sounds about right.

  6. Unless he’s as talented as Dave Butz or Ed Jones – he’s in trouble… He’ll be on skates or the ground. No leverage. Bitonio will bury him.

  7. Alex Mack will destroy this guy! How did that Estonian for The Bungals turn out? Exactly….however nice story since JFF is probably on plane back to Cleveland today

  8. Mount McCullers (AKA, The Tennessee Shade Tree) has 18-20% body fat & can move well for a large man. Hopefully he’ll be able to condition himself (with help from D-line coach Mitchell) to stay/play low. He has the potential to be a beast (taking up multiple blockers & batting down passes if not periodically moving the pocket backwards & getting to the QB). I love this pick as a 5th round addition. He & Stephon Tuitt are both welcome additions along w Cam Thomas to a D-line in need of youthful infusion to go along w Cam Heyward & Steve McClendon.

  9. 414 omg biggest kid on my hs team is 365 and he’s huge! idk how the kid played.

  10. Dead before 45. Heart, blood pressure, diabetes, arterial disease, etc. If the NFL really gave two craps about player safety, they’d make a top weight limit of 300.

  11. Heart attack waiting to happen. Enjoy your time while it lasts, because it’s a better living than professional wrestling.

  12. Let’s see…..6’7″, 352 pounds, and disciplined military training. If he has football talent, there has to be a place for him on this team as they rework youth into the defense. I hope he makes a huge impact for them.

    There is some potentially very exciting young talent on both the offense and defense! Can’t wait for the season to start.

  13. He is going to make it. He has a great attitude plus pouncey and foster will help him be ALLhe can be. This kid is going to be a beast as a nose tackle or end. Good luck running into him

  14. Remember Ditka wanting to bench William Perry because the “Refrigerator” was around 310? Hard to believe that was 34 years ago.

    Not really! That’s before you were born… ten tears. Weight is relative it’s what you can do with it that matters. On PFT most of the weight is in the jaws/ finger tips.

  15. Remember Ditka wanting to bench William Perry because the “Refrigerator” was around 310? Hard to believe that was 34 years ago.
    Actually it was 29 years ago.

  16. If you’ve seen him, he doesn’t even look fat at all, just huge. The question will be if he can get low enough where he can defeat blocking leverage and make the offenses use two guys to move him. he had problems with that in college, so he does have a ways to go before we can talk about him replacing the under-rated McClendon at nose tackle. I wouldn’t mind seeing in the middle of the line on special teams trying to block some kicks though!

  17. What’s amazing is that at his size and weight he has only 17% bodyfat. Now if only our dline coach Mitchell can teach this guy to play with some leverage..

  18. Actually the idea McCullers perhaps switching to offensive line isn’t too far-fetched at all, assuming he doesn’t make it as a nose guard or defensive end. He moves pretty well and he looks like he has more of an offensive tackle-type body anyways. I wish teams would consider this more often.

    There have been a few players I’ve seen who maybe missed out on their best position, but deserve another chance based on athletic upside alone. One I’ll throw out there is Vince Young, although he does it to himself as much as anything. He hasn’t been that great of a quarterback and no one will give him a change there anymore – however, he is still big, strong and exteremly athletic. Perhaps he’d make a decent tight end, if he’d be willing to give it a chance. A paycheck is better than no paycheck, or so you’d think right?

  19. Being that tall, I imagine it will be tough to get lower than the center that will be blocking him, but he should be able to bat down a lot of passes.

    I think this is a good story. While we’re constantly inundated with stories of athletes getting into trouble, it’s nice to see a story about an athlete who realized he needed to make changes, took it upon himself to get in an environment where he could make the changes and came out successful. I hope he makes it.

  20. Teammates nicknamed William Perry “Biscuit” because he was “a biscuit away from 400.”

  21. I’m glad he lost all that weight, but he’ll have to lose a lot more once he stops playing football. These big guys don’t last very long if they don’t.

  22. And the Ravens drafted Urban. 6’7″ DL. And Jernigan and Mosley. That’s how they play the game. Drafting a good receiver early will get you the playoffs. Drafting good defensive players will get you a Championship.

  23. The food in NFL camp has to be better and more plentiful than food in the college camp. Keep an eye on him or this could be the Steelers version of Bryant McKinnie!

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