The Wolverine

March 2020 Issue

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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2020 FOOTBALL RECRUITING ISSUE ald said. "Our big rival is Noble and Greenough School, and we've played them every year since 1896. "It's a huge rivalry game. It's al- ways the last game of the regular sea- son. It's not Michigan-Ohio State, but it's the closest thing in high school football we have. He took over that game. He scored four or five touch- downs and was just dynamic on the field." The quick, fast, explosive elements to Mullings are certainly intrigu- ing ones, especially when someone might wind up at Mike (middle) linebacker. That's where Mullings could even- tually make his mark for Michigan, although MacDonald also heard some talk during the recruiting pro- cess about his prized pupil playing viper. "He's most electric on returns — punt returns and kickoff returns," MacDonald said. "If you give him a little space, he's a tough guy to bring down. "We ran a lot of quick screens and that sort of thing, just to get him the ball out in space, on the perimeter of the offense. Any time we did that, he was very productive. He wasn't a bad guy from tackle to tackle, but that wasn't his thing. We figured out a way to get him the ball out on the perimeter. "I think they're thinking about him as an inside linebacker, because he's such a big kid. He can go from sideline to sideline. You love a Mike that can make the tackles inside and go from sideline to sideline like he can. That's where they'd like to play him." MacDonald insists he's intrigued to see what happens with Mull- ings at Michigan, given his prep sojourn. He'll certainly be looking to reassert himself as the rug- ged, every-down performer he proved he was as a senior. The Milton Academy coach noted that he and Brown "go way back," to the mid-1980s, when Brown was working as a defensive coordinator at Dartmouth. He knows that if Mull- ings is ready for the field as a fresh- man, Brown will get him there. The Milton boss also noted there's been no talk of redshirting Mull- ings, but in big-time college football, things can change in a hurry. "He is very young," MacDonald said. "It's never really seemed to catch up to him, but sooner or later, it is going to catch up to him a little bit. He just turned 17 in November, so he's a full year younger than ev- erybody else, and a couple years younger than a lot of guys — espe- cially prep school kids who reclassify. "That's not going to help him. But Coach Brown and Coach Harbaugh have told him he's going to have an opportunity to play early. I know he's said a couple of times, he'd be thrilled to make special teams, but he wants to find the way to get on the field as a freshman." Either way, it likely won't be long until Mullings is showing others the way — both on and off the field. ❑ MARCH 2020 THE WOLVERINE 33 DID YOU KNOW? • Was also a high school standout on offense. He rushed for 371 yards and 22 touchdowns as a senior, and added 18 receptions for 289 yards and four scores. • Led his team to an 8-1 record and an Independent School League championship as a senior. THEY SAID IT • Mid-Atlantic recruiting analyst Adam Friedman: "He's an all-around football player. He can do a lot of different things on the field. I like him mostly as an interior linebacker because he sees the field really well and does a good job anticipating. He's a physical guy that is just somebody that any team can count on. He's able to do just about everything and he can be a leader on a defense be- cause of that. "He's similar to [former U-M linebacker] Devin Bush in that he's not the tallest guy, but he's fast and athletic and has been around football just about his whole life. He's done a really good job of absorbing every bit of knowledge that he can get his hands on. He's really a Don Brown type of player." • Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh: "Kalel Mullings was recruited for at least three years, and his dad is kind of like the team dad at the high school. … Linebacker is going to be a position of need for depth this season, with Cameron McGrone and Josh Ross projected to be the starters at inside. They'll be able to come in and compete for backup time." PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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