Who was a fantastic freshman player that will be a sophomore sensation this year? Let’s go to the Big-Ten Conference and look at stud cornerback Tiawan Mullen of the Indiana Hoosiers.
Welcome to my fantastic freshman series. I will pick a player in each week that had a fantastic freshman year and that I believe will be even better as a sophomore. I look back as what they have done, and look ahead at what they can be. What impact can they have, for not only their teams but your fantasy teams as well. Provided we get to have a college football season this year, you’ll want to pay attention to sophomore sensation cornerback Tiawan Mullen, of Indiana Hoosiers. Let’s take a closer look at this sophomore sensation to be.
Tiawan Mullen was a three-star recruit from Coconut Creek High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. There Mullen was a track star and an All-county selection at cornerback. He led the team to its first state playoff appearance in over a decade. Mullen would finish his high school career with 14 interceptions and five forced fumbles. His brother Trayvon of the Oakland Raiders, who played before him and went to Clemson, was never able to accomplish the things that Tiawan has. Tiawan, received offers, including Nebraska, Kansas State, Rutgers, Pitt, Mississippi State, Louisville, Michigan State, and Kentucky. The All-American Bowl participant chose Indiana over those schools. He liked the coaching staff, the school, and the atmosphere on campuses as well as the challenge to help the Hoosiers become a winner again.
Most freshmen wind up red-shirting and if they do get on the field, it’s usually in a limited capacity or role. Mullen wasn’t your average freshman and was one of Indiana’s brightest stars last season, especially down the stretch. Mullen’s desire to compete and athletic ability was too good to ignore and by the start of the season, he’d landed on special teams. His cornerback coach at Indiana, Brandon Shelby, complimented Mullen, saying “Freshmen, and true freshmen at that, don’t have that. The stage is not too big for him.” By Week 5 against Michigan State, he looked like one of the Hoosiers’ best man-to-man defensive backs. That was his breakout game and Mullen showed off his coverage skills, as he recorded four pass break up, to go with two tackles.
Mullen would get better and better as the season went along. He would continue to impress everyone the rest of the season. His signature game coming against the Purdue Boilermakers. Mullen would be the star of that game, as he recorded eight tackles, six solos, two and a half tackles for loss, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, and another four pass breakup performance. His thirteen total pass breakups on the season would rank him tied for 11th in the country and earn him An honorable-mention All-Big Ten selection. Mullen, Indiana’s Defensive Newcomer of the Year n 2019, added 29 tackles, 3.5 for loss, in 13 games (8 starts). It’s clear that getting him on the field early was the right choice, and the fantastic freshman will be even better this season.
Well Deserved!!🦍🦍 We have a lot of work to do.. But I’m proud of Ya, Onward and Upward ✊🏾💯❤️ pic.twitter.com/u5i4wu5G86
— Brandon Shelby (@BShelbyIU) July 13, 2020
Tiawan Mullen is already gaining the attention of everyone for the 2020 season. He is on the first watch list for the 26th annual Chuck Bednarik Award, which is presented annually to the outstanding defensive player in college football. Mullen is one of just 11 sophomores who made the list. There will be extremely high expectations for last year’s fantastic freshman this upcoming season, but he welcomes those types of challenges. Mullen will be one of the nation’s best cornerbacks this season and his NFL prospect value will continue to climb. As I mentioned earlier he has NFL bloodlines, so he is already on the radar of NFL scouts.
— Indiana Football (@IndianaFootball) May 14, 2020
What does all this mean for fantasy football? It’s just a little early to project his NFL value, but we’ll get to that in a minute. First off, for those that play in IDP college or C2C leagues, he’s an extremely great buy right now, because not many really know about him. I recently finished a Campus to Canton start-up draft, where he wasn’t drafted until the 22nd round. That’s stealing, considering what the return will be. As for NFL forecast, he is trending as a mid-round pick currently, but his ceiling is much higher. Mullen being a 2nd round pick wouldn’t be an outrageous projection at all. His size will be of some concern, but not enough to override his play. Be sure to grab this sophomore sensation for your rosters.