LOWELL -- The recruitment of Lowell High linebacker Shy Cullen substantially heated up this week when the 6-foot-1, 210-pound junior received a verbal offer from Syracuse University, according to Red Raiders coach John Florence.

Cullen was the Merrimack Valley Conference Division 1 Player of the Year last fall when he registered 60 tackles, including 12.5 sacks.

"He's a great kid and has a great work ethic," said Florence. "He's a real good teammate. A quiet leader who is intensely focused. He has set high goals for himself."

Syracuse, an ACC team that finished 7-4 last season (beating Minnesota in the Texas Bowl) is the first Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) team to make a verbal offer to Cullen, who has not yet visited the school.

With the spring recruiting heating up, Cullen is also drawing interest from FBS schools Boston College, UMass and Temple, as well as Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) schools UNH, URI and Maine, said Florence.

Lowell High juniors Nicolau Coury, a 6-foot, 210-pound linebacker, and Theo Bryant, a 6-foot, 175-pound defensive back are also drawing interest from FCS schools.