Story by: Jake Perper
After three years as a backup, McMullen will be the starter at Heritage Hall as the Chargers seek to capture their second consecutive state championship.
McMullen has been patiently waiting to take over the reins at Heritage Hall as he’s sat behind Connor McGinnis and Quinn Shanbour. After leading Heritage Hall to a state title in 2014 with a 14-1 record, McGinnis is now a preferred walk-on at Oklahoma while Shanbour is competing at North Texas following a short stint at Oklahoma State.
The 5-foot-10, 195-pound McMullen has appeared in 20 games, tossing 324 yards, four touchdowns and four interceptions in limited time at the Oklahoma City, OK powerhouse. McMullen says that waiting to finally be “the guy” at Heritage has been tough, but he’s embraced his position.
“I’ve tried to learn everything I could about the teams we played. I think that preparation will help me this year because I already know a lot about what the other team is doing,” McMullen said. “I'm really excited about my opportunity this coming year and I expect nothing less than bringing home another state title for my school. The guys on my team deserve it and I expect us to execute as good, if not better than last year.”
McMullen says he has been fortunate to play and train alongside some great quarterbacks at Heritage Hall which include the recently departed McGinnis and the successful Shanbour. He says watching McGinnis over the last three seasons has given him a great example of how to be a leader.
“I think one of my biggest influences in football in recent years has to be Quinn [Shanbour],” he said. “When I came in as a freshman, he really helped me in passing leagues and taught me the basics on how to read defenses, how the plays were set up and how to go through my progressions.”
McMullen says his favorite memory thus far in his football career was winning the Class 3A state title 37-14 over Cushing High School last season.
His head coach for all three years Andy Bogert stepped down following that game. He’s helped Heritage Hall win three state titles since taking over the program in 2005. Bogert’s son, Brett is now the head coach after being the offensive coordinator, so with that familiarity McMullen’s transition under center will be smoother.
In terms of playing at the next level, McMullen has been talking with Jamestown University and Southern Methodist University as he enters senior season.
He attended camps at SMU, Tulane and Colorado State this summer as well several combines this spring. Those combines included The Opening’s Elite 11 Camp in New Jersey at the Atlantic Health Jets training facility and the Army All-American Combine in San Antonio, TX.
McMullen has had a busy off-season to say the least as he’s also been training with DeBartolo Sports’ director of coaching and lead quarterback instructor Joe Dickinson. He says training with coach Dickinson has been a tremendous help to his game.
“He [Dickinson] is always completely honest with you and if you're doing something wrong he'll let you know about it,” he said. “He's helped me most with my knowledge of the game.”
The player McMullen models his game after New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees. Despite being considered short at 6-0, Brees has been one of the most consistent starting quarterbacks in his 15 NFL seasons. That’s something McMullen really appreciates.
“He's not the tallest guy to play the game, but he can make every throw on the field as good as or better than anyone else,” he said about Brees.
Working on his timing with his receivers and running backs has been McMullen’s focus as he wants his group to get comfortable with him as the new quarterback.
Heritage Hall returns three important offensive pieces in running back Terrell Love, 6-foot-6 offensive lineman Luther Harris and running back/wide receiver Tevin McDaniel. Love rushed for 1,386 yards and 29 touchdowns while McDaniel combined for 1,050 yards from scrimmage as he finished with 14 touchdowns. Heritage Hall also has junior wide receiver Callahan Walker, who should be a key part of the offense.
McMullen has some legitimate talent around him as he enters his first season as the man at Heritage Hall.
The best player to ever don a Heritage Hall football jersey is former New England Patriots and Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker. McMullen isn’t much taller than Welker (5-9), but his task ahead this season is certainly a tall one. Now’s his chance to shine.