By Chadd Cripe
© 2012 Idaho Statesman
Rocky Mountain High offensive lineman Eli McCullough (6-foot-5, 255 pounds) committed to the Boise State football program Wednesday. The senior-to-be can sign his letter of intent in February.
McCullough also had offers from Army, Idaho and Washington State but reached his football goal when the Broncos offered a scholarship Tuesday. Coach Chris Petersen told him to talk with his family first, or he might have accepted on the spot.
McCullough didn't play sports until eighth-grade football.
"I had a dream — at the end of that season, I kind of went berserk in football and really, really wanted to play at Boise State," he said.
McCullough has played one season of varsity football, as a left tackle, and was hindered by a wrist injury throughout it. But he impressed at the Boise State high school camp the past two years, earning offensive line awards at the JV level in 2010 and varsity level in 2011.
He also won the state title in the shot put (56 feet, 10 1/2 inches) earlier this month and finished fourth in the discus to help Rocky Mountain win the 5A boys state title.
His football career began when his parents forced him to get active.
"I was never really the sportsy type," he said. "I was the video game, sitting on the couch type. My parents kicked my butt off the couch."
Rocky Mountain coach Jason Warr said he envisions a 300-pound McCullough during his Boise State career.
"He can be very good in college because of what his physical stature is," Warr said.
Boise State has four commits for 2013, three of whom are from the Treasure Valley:
— LB Joe Martarano, 6-3, 215, Fruitland HS
— TE Alec Dhaenens, 6-4, 235, Fruitland HS
— QB Ryan Finley, 6-4, 180, Paradise Valley HS (Phoenix)
— OL Eli McCullough, 6-5, 255, Rocky Mountain HS
Boise State junior defensive linemen Nick Alexander (Portland State) and Justin Jungblut (Northern Arizona) have transferred to Big Sky Conference schools, Boise State confirmed Wednesday.
Both had struggled to get on the field in their first three years with the Broncos. They redshirted in 2009. Alexander appeared in two games in 2010 but didn't make a tackle and didn't appear in a game in 2011. Jungblut appeared in four games in 2010, making two assisted tackles, and one game in 2011.
Their departures thin the competition for playing time on the defensive line, which must replace its top five players, but also open two scholarships that likely will be filled by true freshmen who otherwise would have needed to grayshirt.
Boise State athletes posted a school-record 3.0 GPA in the spring 2012 semester, the school announced Wednesday. The department's cumulative GPA is over 3.0 for the 10th straight semester.