Alfred McCullough was instrumental to the Tide this season. He spent much of his career helping his team behind the scenes, but finished his career in the spotlight as a starter for the BCS National Champions.
There was no wave of confetti when McCullough committed to the Tide out of high school, and Scout.com rated him as a 3-star prospect who could play as an offensive lineman but was likely to play on the defensive side of the ball.
He did, indeed, play on the defensive side for one year: 2007, his freshman campaign. He redshirted the following season as he transitioned to a SEC offensive lineman.
I'm not quite sure what he felt about being moved to the offensive side, as his heart seemed to be in playing defense. Years ago, during his recruiting, he said he admired Warren Sapp a great deal in an interview with Scout's Rebecca Johnston.
Whether or not he wanted to be an offensive lineman rather than a defensive lineman was a non-issue. He wanted to help the team in any way he could. Very little is released from practices, but I would wager that McCullough was an integral piece in getting the team ready for games.
I got a real kick out of the interview and learned we had some things we had in common. Our favorite dish is taco salad, and we both play the NCAA football video games. Then again, what college football player doesn't play football video games?
During the interview, McCullough gave some humble answers, making it clear the team was, and always will be, the focus.
He also stated his greatest virtue as this: "I have a good head on my shoulders. I don’t ever get in trouble or nothing like that. On the field I got good sportsmanship."
He was spot-on, even back in August of 2006. He stayed out of trouble, and I honestly can't recall him getting called on any penalties, but the Alabama offensive line rarely does.
I have dubbed Barrett Jones as the "Swiss Army knife" of the Crimson Tide. He can do it all. It's a rare thing to have a backup that can do it all as well, and that was Alfred McCullough.
During the 2011 season, he was capable of playing all over the offensive line. He spelled Barrett Jones at left tackle for several games as he dealt with injury and also replaced Anthony Steen as the starting right guard.
McCullough was never truly built like an offensive tackle, standing at only 6'2". He did have the weight, tipping the scales at 311 lbs. this year.
Guard is where he is best suited to play. It took him a while to get his chance, but he went out with a bang.
Currently, McCullough is not expected to be drafted into the NFL, but that may not stop a team from giving him a shot in training camp as a free agent. He's certainly earned it, as he finished his career as a starter on the best offensive line in the SEC. They allowed a conference-best 17 sacks.
Alfred McCullough's career may not have included an Outland Trophy or All-America honors, but the memories he'll take with him are certain to have been more than worth it.
That and two national championship rings.