Bully is officially a pro.
Marquan McCall has signed an undrafted free agent deal with the Carolina Panthers. However, the work is not done. He'll have to compete for a final roster spot throughout spring camp.
He'll also reunite with former Kentucky defensive tackle Phil Hoskins, AKA "Big Snacc." Hoskins has been with the Panthers since being drafted by the organization in the 7th round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
McCall continued to turn heads even after Kentucky football's season came to an end, thanks to an impressive performance at the Shrine Bowl, where he was one of the event's standouts, as well as UK's pro day, where every NFL franchise has at least one scout in attendance. BBN Tonight's Maggie Davis talked with Bully following Pro Day, where he called the process a "dream come true."
As a result, Kentucky football officially has its second nose guard entering the NFL in just as many years, as McCall joins 2021 draftee Quinton Bohanna in the league. It's fitting, as Bully has often credited Bohanna as his own inspiration and even the blue print for how to come to Kentucky, get in professional-level shape, and prove you belong with the big dogs.
Seeing a lot of good feedback on Marquan McCall at the @ShrineBowl. I’m not surprised— Maggie Davis (@MaggieDavisTV) February 2, 2022
“The biggest change from a freshman to a senior as anybody on the defensive roster, from a maturity standpoint” -Brad White
Bully losing 40 lbs. didn’t hurt either ⬇️pic.twitter.com/BGZLXm7UMI
After seeing Bohanna join the Dallas Cowboys, McCall intensified his weight loss journey, eventually losing more than 40 pounds before the start of the season. He was leaner, quicker and more consistent after the physical transformation, and it became clear McCall had undergone a mental transformation throughout that process, as well.
He was more focused than ever before heading into the 2021 season, and although injuries sidelined him for parts of the season, McCall finished his time in Lexington as a key part of the defense and one of the most beloved personalities on the team. Defensive Coordinator Brad White credited McCall with the biggest maturity change on the entire defense.
No one had more fun in Orlando than @UKFootball nose guard, Marquan McCall. He even let us follow him around during his day at an amusement park!— LEX 18 News (@LEX18News) January 3, 2022
SPOILER ALERT: He didn't love some of the rides 😂 @MaggieDavisTV has the story for @BBNTonight pic.twitter.com/bXLIDKx86x
McCall initially came to Lexington as one of Kentucky’s highest-rated recruits in the 2018 class, and he played a role in continuing the Detroit-to-Lexington pipeline the Kentucky coaching staff has cultivated in recent years. By the end of his senior season, he'd been voted team captain and totaled nine tackles, 3.5 tackle for loss and two quarterback hurries, despite missing four games with an ankle injury.
After four years on the UK football team, McCall finishes his collegiate career with 57 tackles, 10.0 tackles for loss, three quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and one pass breakup. He played in 40 games with 11 starts on Kentucky's defensive line, and his ability to shift from a smiling, dancing teammate on the sidelines into a physical and menacing force on the football field is not something the Big Blue Nation will forget any time soon.