COVINGTON, Ga. -- When Quincy Cullins walked off the field after Eastside put the cap on a shut-down performance of region foe Salem — a 21-0 Eastside win — the 5-foot-7, 165-pound freshman’s gait didn’t look like that of a wide-eyed, wet-behind-the-ears freshman.
Cullins looked and talked as though he’d been here before. He played like it too.
That night against Salem, Cullins rushed for 78 yards on seven carries — an 11.1 yards-per-carry average. But then in the following week when Eastside secured home field advantage in the playoffs, the freshman ripped off 113 yards on 11 carries and a score.
He ran with strength and purpose. His cuts were decisive. His vision was sure. And his confidence was through the roof, as exhibited by what he had to say after the Salem performance.
“I’m just out here trying to do what I can to help the team now,” Cullins said after the Salem game. “It feels good to be able to contribute this way as a freshman. It’s something I knew I had in me the whole time.”
So did Cullins’ coach, Troy Hoff.
“It was a thing where we saw it early in him,” Hoff said. “When he was coming in with us for workouts after just being in the eighth grade, he didn’t run like a typical eighth grader or carry himself as such. And as the summer went we just noticed his ability more and more, and he’s played himself into contributing well for us.”
Cullins rushed for 477 yards on 69 carries — a 6.9 yards per touch average — and found the end zone five times. He also flashed some ability as a receiver in the flat, registering eight catches for 62 yards. His play was good enough to net him Freshman of the Year honors for The Covington News’ 2017 All-County Football team.
And if his freshman potential is any indication, Eastside might have one heck of player on its hands for the next three years.
“He has a bright future,” Hoff said. “We’re excited to see what’s ahead for him.”
It’s that possible future that keeps Cullins focused in the present.
“I’m just going to keep finding ways to work and improve and get better and not be satisfied,” Cullins said.