Q&A: Aidan Cullen reflects on high school career, commitment to CSU

Aidan Cullen is a two-time state champion and recently wrapped up his high school career with a monster performance against Pueblo-East. In the CHSAA 3A title game, Cullen had a crucial pick-six to seal the victory in the second half, and the 6-foot-5, 245-pound defensive end also blocked an extra point.

Aidan Cullen poses with his defensive line coach Jared  St. Aubyn.   PHOTO:   Tara Cullen

Aidan Cullen poses with his defensive line coach Jared St. Aubyn. PHOTO: Tara Cullen

Rams Report recently caught up with Cullen to discuss his high school football career and commitment to Colorado State football.

On what it was like to win back-to-back state titles:

“Last year I thought our state championship was surreal, and when I look at what we did this year, winning two state championships in a row, I don’t really think there are words to describe it. It’s just special being able to do it with those guys that I’ve known for so long, It’s a bittersweet way to end.”

On whether they learned how to handle the playoffs the year before:

“I think it definitely gave us a good idea, especially because the motto that we used last year, I carried into this year and everyone kind of embraced it. It was ‘I want one more week with you guys.’ And that’s what it’s always been, we’ve been playing for each other. So it wasn’t about winning that game, it was more about just wanting to practice and play football with those guys for one more week. And when you get the most amount of weeks that you can out of a football season, it feels good.”

On if he’s sad to not be able to play one more week:

“It’s kind of mixed emotions. I want to be out there with those guys an as much as I’ve grown with them all the time, I definitely have a new chapter to look forward to, so I can’t be really sad about it. But it’s one of those things where I’ve been out there every day after school for 52 weeks of football and it was just a lot of time spent with those guys. It’s definitely a change.”

On whether it will be weird to face QB Ty Evans someday:

“I think we’ve kind of already embraced that rivalry and we’re just going to have fun with it when it happens.”

On if he jokes about sacking Evans:

“Absolutely. And he jokes about how I’m not going to come anywhere close to him, so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.”

On if he questioned his commitment this year:

“Absolutely not. Teams have good seasons and bad seasons, and you know that’s not really representative of a program. Sometimes things just need to get sorted out. I’ve always been the kind of guy that goes into a program and helps make it one of the best programs that it is. That’s one of the reasons I went to Palmer Ridge and the same thing goes for CSU. They’ve had a great program and I think Bobo is doing great things. If you look at their schedule too, they’re one of the only Mountain West schools scheduling big SEC schools like Arkansas and Florida, so that says a lot about the competitiveness of the team, of Bobo, and just how the whole program is really trying to make themselves better.”

On whether Palmer Ridge gets overshadowed by 4A & 5A schools:

“Our mentality at Palmer Ridge has always been that nobody likes us. So it’s kind of like the people that are on the field with us are the only people we want to have around. And the same goes for CSU. If nobody wants to support us and nobody wants to think that we’re going to win games, I’m just there because I’m going to enjoy that guys that are around me. The only people I need to play for are the ones next to me.”

On whether Mike Bobo was the reason he committed to CSU:

“Coach Bobo is a great guy and he’s brought in a great staff, but at the end of the day you can’t go somewhere because of the staff. As unfortunate as it is, those (staffs) come and go. But Fort Collins is a great place with the campus, the stadium and the degrees that they offer. Those are all great things and went into the decision, so it wasn’t just the coaching staff.”

On whether his family being close was a strong selling point:

“Absolutely. It kind of (gave me) a sense of pride to be able to play in Colorado, and the ability for all my friends and family to come to games, being only 2.5-3 hours away from my hometown, it means a lot. I think the fans have also embraced that I’m in-state, so the fans at Colorado State have been great too.”

Aidan Cullen poses with the state championship trophy.   PHOTO:   Tara Cullen

Aidan Cullen poses with the state championship trophy. PHOTO: Tara Cullen

On what he brings to the program:

“Passion. It kind of makes everything else better. That’s the foundation for everything else to build off as far as how competitive I am and the reasons that I have to play. I just love the sport and being around it. I love the things it does for my future. I love the things it’s doing to build my character and the community it creates.”

On what he will miss most about his high school football career Pt. 1:

“Definitely the bond that I have with these guys. I think a lot of us will be talking for a very long time—probably the rest of our lives. I hope to continue building relationships with them for the next few years, even if we’re going to different colleges or playing at other schools. I just hope to keeps those bonds with them. I’ll miss seeing them every day.”

Pt. 2:

“A lot of these guys support me as well, especially after the state game this year. A lot of them came up to me and said that they’d be watching me on TV and they’d be keeping in touch, so that’s pretty cool.”

PHOTO: Tara Cullen