The Wolverine

March 2020 Issue

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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32 THE WOLVERINE MARCH 2020 2020 FOOTBALL RECRUITING ISSUE "That's a big part of it," the head coach said. "He didn't want to be la- beled as an injury-prone kid. But no- body ever really backed off him. He still had a million offers. Don Brown never backed off him because of his injuries." Jim Harbaugh certainly never backed off, describing Mullings on his "Attack Each Day" podcast as "someone you respect and someone who shows great respect." He just turned 17 in November, meaning that he competed as a 13-year-old freshman on Milton's varsity. The daunting task involved facing 20-year-olds, who are allowed to participate in the Independent School League in which the Mus- tangs compete. "So as a 13-year-old playing against 20-year-olds, he never missed a snap," MacDonald said. "I wouldn't say he's a kid who is injury prone. And he was targeted by ev- eryone we played, because he's such a well-known athlete." Mullings has always been one of the youngest players in his class, so he'll probably feel right at home as a Michigan freshman. "We recruited him to come here when he was in fifth or sixth grade, so I've known him a long time," Mac- Donald said. "He was clearly the best player in the state. I met him when he was in fifth grade. He was always a year younger than everybody else in his grade. "He was the best kid in Massachu- setts, clearly. He was head and shoul- ders above everybody else." MacDonald doesn't usually recruit kids to the school until they're at least in ninth grade. For Mullings, he made an exception. Years later, it's paid off with major dividends. "He's a big kid — huge hands and huge feet," MacDonald noted. "He's got great hands. I don't think he's dropped a ball all year, and he ended up playing a lot of receiver, more re- ceiver than he played running back. "He's very fast, in the 4.5s. Track speed — he's a 100-meter dash guy. He's just a very athletic kid. He does pretty much everything well. "As a runner, he was best when he was in the open field. He's a tough guy to find and a tough guy to bring down." And that's the side of the ball to which Mullings does not project at Michigan. "On defense, because he runs well, he runs to the ball well," MacDonald said. "He had a couple of rough sea- sons in a row where he was injured the majority of the season, but he had a great freshman year, as a 13-year- old freshman. He had a great senior year on both sides of the ball. "Donnie Brown wants to play him at linebacker, which makes sense. He looks like a linebacker. He runs to the ball well, and he's very athletic." It says something that MacDonald still thinks of him as a wideout. A college linebacker with the speed to play sideline to sideline is a must these days. "I think his best position is wide re- ceiver," MacDonald said. "You can't cover him. He's just a big, strong, athletic kid. He's very fast." Mullings' skills allowed him to compete against players seven years his elder as a prep freshman. Four years later, he continually showed what he could do against Milton Academy's toughest competition. "He took over a lot of games his senior year, where he was clearly the best player on the field," MacDon- Milton (Mass.) Academy head coach Kevin MacDonald "We voted for captains last year, and he won unanimously. He has no enemies. Everybody likes Kalel. He's a great kid, and he's a very intelligent kid." Mullings wrapped up his prep career as Michigan's highest-ranked signee per, checking in at No. 92 overall nationally. PHOTO BY EJ HOLLAND

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