Culbertson signs with Mt. St. JosephPublished 1:38am Sunday, March 17, 2013
Injuries have slowed Nick Culbertson during his football career. However, it looks as though he is on the road to recovery.
And he’s recovering very nicely.
Culbertson earned playing time as a sophomore and started his junior year with a breakout game against Wheelersburg.
But injuries began to plague him from that point throughout the next two seasons including his senior campaign when he missed the final five games.
“It was very frustrating. It was hard to explain to people. If was tough not being able to play the last five or six games,” said Culbertson.
“I feel like I’ve had the worst luck ever.”
Culbertson’s luck may have changed after the Ironton Fighting Tigers’ senior two-way lineman signed a letter-of-intent to play for the College of Mount St. Joseph Lions.
The NCAA Division III Lions are a member of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) and have won five league championships including one in 2011.
Culbertson entertained offers from Lake Erie, Gannon (Pa.), Wittenberg and West Minister before settling on the Lions.
“They’ve been talking to me since the end of my junior year,” said Culbertson. “I went there for a luncheon and met coach (Rod) Huber and I really like his enthusiasm.
“I went there for a visit and they made me feel at home. I knew after I went to dinner this was it. It felt like Ironton.”
The 6-foot-4, 260-pound Culbertson was a three-year letterman and two-year starter for Ironton.
Despite injuries that shortened his senior year at mid-season, Culbertson racked up 55 tackles, six quarterback sacks and 12 blocked passes.
Culbertson’s size and ability to rush the quarterback drew the interest of numerous Midwest college programs including Mount St. Joseph.
“We got on Nick early and believe he has a huge upside,” said Mount St. Joseph head coach Rod Huber. “He runs well and has the frame to hold 275 pounds comfortably. I see him as a pass rush specialist and coming off the edge causing a lot of problems for opposing quarterbacks.”
Culbertson said the team’s defensive line coach Tony Acito also has plans to use him as a nose guard.
“He wants me as a nose guard on defense. They usually play a 3-4 and sometimes a 4-3,” said Culbertson. “Right now, the defensive line coach said I was second on the depth chart.
“Russ Turner is a senior and he said after this year the position would be mine for the next three years. He wants to get me 60 or 70 plays this year. I know I have to work hard and get my shoulder in shape.”
Although Culbertson was a lineman, he showed his athleticism as the team’s punter the past two seasons.
“I asked about (punting) and they have a senior who does the punting. If I do get injured, maybe I’ll get to punt,” said Culbertson.
Nick, the son of Shelli and J.B. Culbertson of Ironton, plans to pursue a doctorate degree in physical therapy.
“I just want to earn my (playing) time and show that there’s life after football. I want to play football, but you can’t play football for the rest of your life. Physical therapy will be a good job for me after all the injuries I’ve had,” said Culbertson.