As the head coach at Harvey High in Painesville, Devlin Culliver
tutored Chris Fields the last three seasons and helped him earn a
scholarship to Ohio State where Fields is now a redshirt freshman wide
receiver. This season – at Shaw High – Culliver mentored another future Buckeye.
EDITOR’S NOTE – This story is reprinted from the December 2009 edition of Bucknuts The Magazine.
As the head coach at Harvey High in Painesville, Devlin Culliver tutored Chris Fields the last three seasons and helped him earn a scholarship to Ohio State where Fields is now a redshirt freshman wide receiver.
This season, Culliver, still teaching at Harvey, returned to the school where he landed his first head coaching job, East Cleveland Shaw, and, as the offensive coordinator for head coach Rodney Brown, Culliver has had a big role in grooming wide receiver Tyrone “T-Y” Williams, who is also going to be a Buckeye next fall.
Culliver, when he took the job, was certainly excited to have the opportunity to coach another big-time wide receiver recruit in the 6-6, 215-pound Williams, who like Fields, entertained offers from numerous schools around the Midwest before committing to Ohio State.
“He definitely lived up to the hype,” said Culliver when he was asked if Williams was the player he thought he would be this season. “I’ve known him for a couple of years now but I never had the chance to coach him. I had heard a lot of good things about him. But he was young at the position, as far as being a football player. So I knew I had my work cut out for me as far as having him live up to the hype that he was getting for being a top wide receiver prospect in Ohio.”
Williams had 29 catches on the season for 600 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Cardinals who finished the year with a 6-2-1 record. Shaw ended the season as the 13-ranked team in Division I, Region I.
“He was a pleasant surprise because he’s a nice kid and he works hard and he did everything I asked him to do,” Culliver said. “And he picked up on the offense pretty well. It was actually only his second full varsity season. He played his sophomore year and then he got hurt last year. He tore his ACL and only played four games. And he ended up having a pretty good season this year.”
Williams, who was the second leg of Shaw’s 4×400 meter relay team that finished seventh at the D-I state meet this past spring, obviously created a match-up problem for any defensive back he would go up against.
“He’s really a hard kid to cover because of his height and his speed and he used it to his advantage pretty much every game,” Culliver said. “He would draw double-coverage and sometimes triple-coverage but when the ball was thrown up to him, he had opportunities to make a play on it. And he would make it look easy even when he had two people on him.”
Size is obviously Williams’ biggest asset.
“You don’t really see, as a high school coach any way, too many 6-5 or 6-6 receivers that will come through your program or that you get a chance to coach,” Culliver said. “You may have seen some on an opposing team but very rarely do you have a kid like that, of that size, on your team that you get a chance to coach.”