‘All of my hard work is complete,’ Valley tight end Dupree Fuller Jr. receives Division I HBCU offer

After starring for the Monarchs, Fuller Jr. has grabbed attention from four, four-year universities across the nation.

By Benjamin Royer, Sports Editor

Dupree Fuller Jr. is a tight end on the Valley football team. Due to his athletic performance, Fuller has received an NCAA Division 1 offer from North Carolina Central University. (Jeremy Ruiz / The Valley Star)

Valley College tight end Dupree Fuller Jr., a physical and statistical leader for the Monarchs’ offense in 2021, now hopes to launch his career to the Division I level.

Towering over defensive backs at 6-foot-4 and 265 lbs, spectators could perceive that Fuller Jr. plays a large role on the gridiron. From the first snap in every contest, the staunch tight end helped drive the Monarchs down the field with his high-intensity effort, leading Valley receivers with 744 yards and six touchdowns. His development on the field was rewarded with offensive first-team honors in the Pacific League and has now earned the spring graduate a Division I offer from North Carolina Central University, a historically black college and university.

“It feels like all of my hard work is complete,” said Fuller Jr. “It is what I have worked for all my life. It is heartwarming and humbling. It makes me want to work even harder to get more [honors].”

Celebrating his Jan. 23 offer from NC Central University tight ends coach Evan Harrington on Twitter, Fuller Jr. garnered support from across the Valley and the junior college football community.

Pro Football Hall of Famer and Jackson State coach Deion “Prime Time” Sanders helped HBCU schools boost in stature across the college football landscape in 2021 when he recruited highly sought-after prospects to his roster in Mississippi.

Previously, the majority of players with Division I potential would enroll at universities in Power 5 conferences - the programs with the most funding and popularity. This year, NC Central University has already received a transfer commitment from former South Carolina University wide receiver and highly ranked prospect OrTre Smith.

Dupree Fuller Jr. holds offers from four univeristies across the nation. (Jeremy Ruiz / The Valley Star)

Fuller Jr. recognizes the path that HBCU schools are building and how they could affect where he transfers.

“As an African American kid, it is really amazing to see that finally, HBCUs are getting the attention that they deserve,” said Fuller Jr. “Having a Division I HBCU offer as my first [Division I offer] is really great. They saw my talent and wanted to take a chance on me.”

Through his time playing at Monarch Stadium, the talented wideout gives a lot of credit for his growth to Valley offensive coordinator Paul Holt. Nicknaming Holt “Unc,” an uncle figure, Fuller Jr. expressed gratitude for the mentorship he has received from the Monarchs’ offensive play-caller.

Holt reciprocated the sentiment from his receiving star.

“Dupree is a game-changer,” said Holt. “I am excited for him, his family and the opportunities that have been created by his hard work and dedication. He deserves all of the attention he has received. (I am) going to enjoy watching him on Saturdays this fall.”

Division II schools Adams State University and Black Hills State, in Colorado and South Dakota respectively, and Virginia University of Lynchburg, an HBCU which competes in the National Christian College Athletic Association and are pursuing the Monarch as well.

Fuller Jr. has time to decide where to commit and is still weighing his options before he chooses where to go for his next student-athlete experience.

Whether it is in the Rocky Mountains, Virginia Beach, the Tar Heel state or another region of the United States, Valley’s breakout talent is set to continue his dream of playing college football.

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