Devrin Young turned a 5-yard pass into a 72-yard touchdown in Friday's scrimmage. That's probably the second most memorable play of the preseason for the Tennessee running back.
The play that mattered more didn't get close to the end zone. It ended in a bear hug at the line of scrimmage.
The man doing the hugging was Big Dan, the 6-foot-6, 362-pound junior college defensive tackle more formally known as Daniel McCullers.
"It was a normal up-the-middle power play," the 5-foot-8 Young said of the David-Goliath encounter. "Big Dan broke through there. Normally, I make a cut and bounce outside."
But this play was anything but normal. As Young slipped, McCullers had an open shot at the smallest player on the UT offense. He didn't take it, though.
"He just gave me a bear hug," Young said. "He showed some love."
After practice, Young offered a thank-you in return.
"He just giggled and walked off," Young said with a smile.
McCullers recalls the play as well. Even in the heat the moment, he remembers resisting the instinctive urge to level a running back.
"We need him," McCullers explained.
His first encounter with the local media went well Saturday afternoon. He's soft-spoken, polite and patient about all the size-related questions that surely have come his way at each level of football.
He punctuates almost every answer with "sir," which might be a carryover from his junior college days at Georgia Military Academy. Or perhaps, it's just a team thing. You hear "sir" a lot from these guys.
For a player who can't help but stand out for obvious reasons, McCullers seems to be fitting in well with his teammates.
"I'm getting comfortable," he said. "Hanging around this team a lot, they're all cool. Everybody is treating me nice."
Why wouldn't they? McCullers has plenty to offer a team that seems united in its quest for redemption, following the 5-7 season of 2011. He's threatening to win a starting position as the anchor in UT's new 3-4 front after impressing his teammates and coaches throughout preseason.
"I've never seen a guy that size be mobile like that," Young said. "As soon as he gets better technique-wise, the sky is the limit for him."
Fan expectations are already soaring for McCullers. One reporter relayed them to defensive line coach John Palermo, saying that fans are projecting McCullers as an All-SEC-type player.
"My expectation is he will be that individual at some point," Palermo said. "But we've still got a lot of work to do."
That shouldn't discourage McCullers, who has been working hard toward this for a long time.
McCullers was a junior at Southeast Raleigh (N.C.) High School when he first realized he was a college football prospect. The interest from college coaches became an incentive for studying. But no amount of studying could make up for what he didn't do his first two years of high school. Junior college became his best option.
Georgia Military Academy wasn't just any junior college. It was waking up at 5 a.m., marching, saluting, studying, practicing football and going to study hall.
Military discipline alone wouldn't make him a major-college football player. McCullers had to lose weight — a lot of weight.
Since last spring, he has gone from 390 to 362. His goal is 350, which he last saw on a set of scales when he was a freshman in high school.
Losing weight hasn't been easy. But playing football at 390 pounds wasn't easy, either. He remembers how winded he would be after playing just four consecutive downs.
"I feel like I'm in good shape right now," he said.
He might not know how good until the season opener. He also knows something else will be different when practice gives way to a game and he gets a clear shot at running back who isn't a teammate.
"He's going to the ground hard," McCullers said.