Daniel McCullers is shaping up.
McCullers, Tennessee's massive defensive lineman, opened fall camp at 352 pounds this week, GoVolsExtra.com reports. That's a significant weight loss that he hopes will help him make the conversion from a really big player to a really big playmaker. And he knows an NFL career could hang in the balance.
In 2008, Terrence Cody arrived at the University of Alabama having spent a couple of years in junior college hovering close to 400 pounds. McCullers did the same in his time at Georgia Military College before transferring to UT. But Cody opted to return to UA for his senior year, trimmed down some, and parlayed the benefits of the weight loss into being a second-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens.
Like Cody, McCullers gave some passing thought to turning pro early, but knew he needed to address the weight issue himself before the NFL addressed it for him.
"It was an OK season," he said. "It wasn't who I wanted to be. ... I knew I had to come back. I had a lot more learning to do."
McCullers made only one sack last season and recorded 5.5 tackles for loss. Under new coach Butch Jones, a lot more is expected this season of the 6-foot-8 giant in the middle. And McCullers looks ready to deliver.
"We'll be as good as Dan McCullers goes," Jones said earlier this week.