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Star wide receiver Donaven McCulley announces his return to Indiana football



Indiana football
Wide receiver Donaven McCulley will be returning to the Indiana football program after entering the transfer portal. (Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports)

The Indiana football program continues to receive great news through the transfer portal and this time it is surrounding wide receiver Donaven McCulley.

It was reported on Friday by 247Sports National Reporter Matt Zenitz that McCulley is expected to withdraw from the portal and remain at Indiana. McCulley confirmed that Friday afternoon.

McCulley emerged as one of the top playmakers in the Big Ten this season — just his second season playing the position.

He totaled 48 receptions for 644 yards and six touchdowns. Over the last five games, McCulley had 420 yards and five touchdowns. His standout performance was against Illinois, grabbing 11 catches for 137 yards and two touchdowns.

His 48 receptions are the most by an Indiana football player since Whop Philyor in 2019.

He ranked 10th in receptions in the Big Ten, sixth in receiving touchdowns and 14th in yards per catch.

McCulley had seven games with at least four receptions and five games with at least 70 receiving yards. Not only was he a dominant threat in the redzone, he also turned into a legit number one receiver. He caught 60 percent of his targets this year with 10 contested catches ranking third in the Big Ten.

“Now, I’m a real wide receiver who is athletic,” McCulley said this season. ” … I’ve always felt like, ‘Go out there every play and just tell yourself you’re unguardable’. Just try to impose your will. I’m 6-foot-5, 210 (pounds) and I feel like I need to impose my will on almost every play. That’s a big thing for me, just being a dawg.”

He was an All-Big Ten Offensive Honorable Mention this season.

McCulley entered the transfer portal and was receiving interest from Michigan, Penn State, Kentucky, Texas A&M, UCLA, Mississippi State, Nebraska and others.

McCulley committed to Indiana football as a quarterback and played his freshman season at the position before making the transition.

Last season, McCulley had 16 receptions for 169 yards and one touchdown.

In his one season under center, McCulley had four starts in seven appearances. He threw for 475 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

The Indiana football program received a commitment from Ohio transfer quarterback Kurtis Rourke on Thursday. He was the 2022 MAC Offensive Player of the Year. Over the course of 36 games for Ohio, he threw for 7,666 career yards with 50 passing touchdowns and 16 interceptions. In 2022, Rourke threw for 3,257 passing yards, 25 touchdowns and four interceptions before an ACL injury ended his season.

McCulley is the third player to return to the Indiana football program after entering the portal, joining defensive back Jordan Grier and offensive lineman Carter Smith.

SEE ALSO: ‘There will be no self-imposed limitations’: Curt Cignetti avoiding complacency and already changing the expectation around Indiana football

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Alec Lasley is the owner of Hoosier Illustrated, a comprehensive site covering news, updates and recruiting for Indiana University athletics. Alec has covered Indiana for six years and is a credentialed media member. He has previously worked for both Rivals and 247Sports.