Seated at a table decked in navy and gold, accompanied by a pair of Class 3A state championship trophies, Palmer Ridge seniors Aidan Cullen and Ty Evans signed their National Letters of Intent to play Division I football.
Cullen, an all-state defensive end, will play at Colorado State, while Evans, the 2017 Gatorade Player of the Year for Colorado football will head to Raleigh, North Carolina, to N.C. State.
Cullen heads to CSU after an impressive career in Monument, in which he had 152 total tackles, 16 tackles for a loss and 11.5 sacks, all the while anchoring one of the best defensive lines in the state.
Cullen capped his senior season with a career-high 88 tackles — including 45 solo, and 13 tackles for a loss. He also had his only career interception, and ran it back for a touchdown during the 3A state championship game in early December.
Palmer Ridge coach Tom Pulford spoke highly about Cullen’s work ethic and vast, consistent improvement since his freshman year.
Pulford told a story of Cullen as a freshman lining up against a tough teammate, and not backing down despite his age. That "feistiness" inspired other Palmer Ridge coaches.
“There’s not the same stat line with the dudes in the trenches. Yes he makes a lot of tackles and gets a lot of sacks, but what shows up most for me on film, Aidan Cullen destroying double teams and eating up offensive linemen,” Pulford said. “When I take a look at where Aidan Cullen was when he came into our program, and where he is at leaving, I would be hard-pressed to find another individual who has grown that much.”
Pulford also listed a number of accolades for Evans, who has piloted one of the state’s most prolific offenses and two straight state titles.
Evans finished his career at Palmer Ridge with 9,453 passing yards and a .601 completion percentage. According to Pulford, he finished his career ranked third-all time in Colorado with 106 touchdowns.
He had back-to-back seasons in which he threw for more than 3,000 yards, and in his senior year he more than doubled his career rushing yards and ran for 11 touchdowns.
“I could tell you all about his stats, but what I’m going to tell you about Ty Evans, is as good of an arm that he has, and with how much talent he has, he’s an even better human being,” Pulford said.
Evans heads to NC State after a rough recruiting journey in which he decommitted from both Arkansas and Colorado after head coach firings. He officially announced his commitment to N.C. State last week.