MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Because four-star rankings apply a standard to players before they even arrive on a college campus, Cullen Christian arrives at campus No. 3 labeled a bust.

He has one more season to rewrite that legacy.

“I’m more hungry than I’ve ever been and I’ve got a lot to prove,” Christian said during an interview with MetroNews “Sportsline” on Tuesday night. The eighth-ranked cornerback in the 2010 recruiting class has traveled from Michigan to Pitt, and now he’s trying West Virginia, still aiming to deliver on the talent that had 20 power-conference programs dangling scholarships four years ago.

“For people that haven’t seen me play in a while, I think I need to let everybody know the I’ve still got it, that I can ball. It’s just that I’ve got to get an opportunity to do that.”

After appearing in 11 games as a Wolverines true freshman, Christian sounded bewildered about the diminished role he accepted the past two seasons at Pitt. Down to his final year of college football, he wasn’t willing to accept it again.

“When I transferred home to Pittsburgh, it was nothing that I was doing wrong not to be on the field,” Christian said. “I never got a reason not to be starting. There was no good reason.”

Two games into last season, Christian was experiencing tendinitis in both Achilles, feeling unable to play full-speed and dubious about his role with the Panthers.

“I could still play through (the tendinitis) but it wouldn’t do anything but get worse, so I took some time off ” he said. “And when I took that time off I just realized I was going to move on somewhere else and play my last year of football.

“I realized that Pitt wasn’t the place for me and I wasn’t going to get a fair shot to play ever.”

He presumes no one will afford as fair a shot as West Virginia defensive coordinator Tony Gibson, who recruited Christian to Michigan only to be fired in the Rich Rodriguez house-cleaning a season later. The staff change led to Christian’s first transfer, ensconced in a series of honest-but-unflatttering comments that didn’t sit well with fans in Ann Arbor:

“I didn’t really like it up here. I didn’t like the campus, and really, I’ve been miserable since I’ve been up here. … When Coach Gibson left, it got crazy; I wanted to be with somebody who recruited me, somebody who knows me and knows what I’m about. That’s why I picked Michigan in the first place, and it was a different coaching staff, I wouldn’t have committed there.” — Christian to the Michigan Rivals site in April 2011.

Christian overlapped with Gibson during his transfer season at Pitt, but then the assistant was off to rejoin Rodriguez in Arizona in 2012. They will be paired up for a third time now, Gibson having returned to his WVU roots and Christian becoming essentially a college free-agent after earning his criminal justice degree at Pitt.

“No one wants to transfer even one time, so me transferring twice, I really didn’t want to do it,” he said. “But I’m chasing the dream. I want to be able to play in front of a crazy crowd. I want to be able to win games.”

The kid who turned 22 years old last week has 20 tackles in 25 career college games, with no interceptions and one pass breakup. On Tuesday he was in Morgantown leasing an apartment, and getting a new lease on a career that hasn’t matched its billing.

“If people really knew what happened behind closed doors, they would have a different opinion of me,” he said. “People don’t know the hours I put in when no one was watching. People don’t know how hard I worked.

“I’m a kid that’s hungry right now.”

bubble graphic


bubble graphic


  • VaultHunter

    Welcome Cullen! Glad to add another 4 star talent to our state's university! Dana is building a great program full highly rated recruits. Unlike that community college in lil Detroit we land high rated prospects.

    Ofcourse you could have gone to Marshall and been one of their best prospects ever but you knew better than playing glorified AA ball.

    I'm just glad our program is not made up of 1&2 star talent and recruits who don't even receive ratings. We could always move to Conf USA and brag about beating Southern Miss but I'm happy in one of the big 5 conferences. Good luck to Marshall I hope one day you guys can land a 4 star player. Its feels pretty good you guys should try ot sometime.

    • Football Fan

      Your funny!!

    • Sam

      May 8th is officially wvu day in the state. Wear the blue & yellow proud on 4-8

      • mull


      • JBinWV

        Umm, it's blue and old gold, not yellow. But yeah, go Mountaineers.

  • Mountaineer Fanatic

    I am looking forward to a great reversal season. All who really want to play for the great Mountaineers are welcome. Those who do not care are not. LETS GOOOOOOO
    First things first. BEAT ALABAMA!!!!!!!!

  • Ollie Luck

    Jay Zoom, its not polite to talk about your daddy like that in public now get off the computer you are grounded. I am taking down all the Moo posters in your room when i get home

  • william

    Great, come to WVU and your get to play!
    Not much talent at WVU, and that starts with Dana "The Man in Black Holgerson
    You will get a lot of playing time here-
    On and Off the field!

    • farm kid

      first things first, William your lack of education and writing, desire more attention. second william, I find it hard to believe that you ever saw the inside of mountaineer field. third William,. hugie bear also wears black. William do you have a problem with the color black?

      • matt

        Hey farm kid this is a sports blog not an English essay forum. A spelling or grammar mistake does not make a sports opinion or fact any less valid. I find that when someone usually gets bent over an error they usually just do not have a strong rebuttal.

    • DWM

      Glad to know that your mom paid the internet bill and that your posts continue to have the same level of commonsense.

  • Joanna

    Go Buc ! We have seen what he is capable of -- infortunatly Pitt wouldn't let him shine like he should -- just like a few other penn hills graduates I know . Michigan will be a great place for you to display what you have and forget the nay Sayers -- they have no idea who you are and what you are capable of . Good luck and We are behind you !

    • Mitch

      @ Joanna

      Michigan? Huh?

  • Derek

    Let the kid play before we judge him. He has to have talent for people to offer to him.

  • JD

    Not sure if this kid is talented or not, but red flags are always raised when he comes in with excuses as to playing time (lack of).

    • teamnasty24

      JD just look him up. He's talented, just been a casualty of coaching changes. I can understand your concern though. But he's legit and his excuses are REASONS!

  • cutty77

    I agree with this young man. Pitts new Coach is a Big Control freak. He forgets these are young kids he's dealing with. But never fear,he will be gone from Pitt in less than 2 years. Welcome to Mo-Town young Man, i wish you well.

    • farm kid

      cutty, that pitt coach walked into a worst situation than what bill steward left dana and that was bad. recall pitt had {Ithink} four coaches in one year. pitt could fire him in two years. remember it is pitt's D.N.A.

      • cutty77

        I agree but when you take a bad Job,you don't make it worse. To me he is just a losser Coach from Top to Bottom.

  • Phil M.

    You will have to prove it on the field young man.

    Good Luck and welcome.

  • Airmail

    Jay zoom sounds brilliant. I'm sure he's busy right now evaluating talent and watching film for the program he runs. Certainly with THAT insight, he is. D1 head coach. We're lucky he took time out of his busy schedule to bless us with his evaluation

  • jay zoom

    tis kid thinks he is something that he is not and WVU FELL FOR IT. THANKS OLLIE and that clown that works for you. he will be a bust just like WVU in the big 12.

    • rock solid

      @jayzoom: You are an idiot! Always have been an idiot and always will be an idiot! If someone suggested you and someone have an intelligent conversation, you would have to remain speechless! What a loser.

    • John

      Hey Jay Zoom,

      People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. You don't know anything about this young man or what has happened in the past. Nice to see you are willing to give him a chance (sarcasm) and hope people treat you the same.

    • cutty77

      Why don't you zoom out of here.

    • j

      Kind of like you were a bust in English class?

    • Greal040

      What the heck does Ollie have to do with this? He has nothing to do with this decision.

  • donutfiend77

    Welcome to Morgantown young man! Best of luck!!!!!!

  • Vault

    I'm gonna go ahead and say this kid makes a big impact for us this year.

    Welcome Cullen.

    We have gone from shaky to solid in the secondary in one offseason. I'm slowly starting to feel more and more confident about this season.

    Would be fantastic to get a QB transfer from a big time program that runs our type of system.

  • GoEers

    I wish this kid the best of luck. He will have plenty of opportunities to showcase his skills on national tv.

    • Grae

      Why are there so many negative people on here? Stop being negative about WVU if you are a true fan please.

  • pat

    Welcome to your new home CC. Can't wait to watch you on Saturdays! You'll have an opportunity to showcase your skills against the best receivers in the country.