The Wolverine

March 2020 Issue

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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BY JOHN BORTON T he parents weren't frantic — yet. But they were definitely lost, and that's not hard to do on the sprawling campus of Milton Academy, the prestigious preparatory school in Milton, Mass. They wanted to see their daugh- ter 's game, and they weren't any- where near where they needed to be. Fortunately, a friendly stranger offered to help. Kalel Mullings couldn't have been kinder, according to his head coach, Kevin MacDonald. The coach knew this only because the wayward mom wound up so impressed that she wrote a letter about Mullings to a host of people at the school. She didn't know he was a football star. She just knew he was a star rep- resentative of his school that after- noon. "They said this really nice kid came up to them and asked, 'Can I help you?' Of course, this was Kalel," MacDonald recalled. "The parents were really on the wrong side of campus. Kalel took them — and he knew I was going to be mad at him, because he was a couple of minutes late for practice — and took the time to walk them over to the game. "He told them about Milton Acad- emy. They had no idea that this was a big football star. They were so taken by this anecdote that they wrote a nice, long note to me and to our headmaster and a couple other peo- ple, including our athletic director. "We weren't surprised, because we know what a great kid he is. And all the other kids would say the same. We voted for captains last year, and he won unanimously. He has no en- emies. Everybody likes Kalel. He's a great kid, and he's a very intelligent kid." At 6-1, 220 pounds, Mullings might be one of the few ambassa- dors around that could body slam opposing running backs shortly af- ter playing genial tour guide. That's the dichotomy, though, for one of Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown's newest linebackers. Off the field, MacDonald stressed, the Wolverines couldn't be getting a better individual in maize and blue. "He's just a tremendous kid — once of the nicest kids you'll ever meet," the coach offered. "He doesn't have a mean bone in his body. He's so polite and nice." On the field, well, that's another story. The four-star Mullings didn't get to be the Wolverine's top-ranked recruit (No. 92 overall nationally) and the No. 8 outside linebacker prospect in the country in the eyes of by giving helpful tours to the end zone. No, the 2019 Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of Mas- sachusetts proved most unhelpful to opponents over the course of his prep playing career. He didn't pile up jaw-dropping career numbers like some incoming freshmen, largely due to shoulder injuries as a sophomore and junior, including shoulder surgery his junior year. But he bounced back in a big way as a senior, firming up his status as a highly coveted recruit on either side of the football. This past season, he scored 26 touchdowns — 22 of them via his 371 rushing yards and four more while catching 18 passes for 289 yards. On the other side of the ball, his accom- plishments included a pair of inter- ceptions and two sacks. MacDonald assured that Mullings felt he had something to prove as a senior, and did so. Punch-Packing Gentleman Kalel Mullings Has A Winning Way, On And Off The Field 2020 Projection It's unlikely that Mullings earns a starting role in 2020 with experi- enced players like redshirt sopho- more Cameron McGrone and red- shirt junior Josh Ross returning at the position, but an injury to either one of them could potentially force the freshman into a significant role. He will likely earn time on special teams and as a backup in his first season, and then will push for a starting role in the years to come. KALEL MULLINGS LINEBACKER 6-1 • 220 MILTON ACADEMY WEST ROXBURY, MASS. RANKINGS STARS NAT. POS. STATE ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ 92 8* 2 ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ 236 15* 2 ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ 208 18* 1 * Ranked as an outside linebacker STATISTICS Year Tackles TFL Sacks Int. 2019 51 7 2 2 HONORS • Selected as the Gatorade Player of the Year in Massachusetts in 2019. He is the first player from Milton Acad- emy to win this award. • Participated in the 2020 All-Amer- ican Bowl and the Polynesian Bowl. He notched 1.5 tackles and returned a blocked extra point for a two-point conversion in the All-American Bowl, and logged a solo stop in the Polyne- sian Bowl. • Was a nominee for the 2019 High School Butkus Award, given to the na- tion's top linebacker. • Voted as the Independent School League's Most Valuable Player as a senior. • Was an Massachusetts High School Football Coaches Association All-State selection as a senior. RECRUITMENT • Committed to Michigan on June 27, 2019. • Also had offers from Clemson, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Penn State, among others. • Recruited by defensive coordinator Don Brown. MARCH 2020 THE WOLVERINE 31 2020 FOOTBALL RECRUITING ISSUE Mullings scored 26 touchdowns during his senior year, lining up at both wide receiver and running back, but he is expected to be a linebacker at Michigan. PHOTO BY EJ HOLLAND

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