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Kalel Mullings path to Michigan, outlook for 2022

Mullings is a Swiss Army knife.

All-American Bowl Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images

Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh loves versatile athletes, football players that can play on offense, defense, and special teams. Multiple players fit this description at Michigan, including linebacker/running back Kalel Mullings.

The story so far

Mullings was a four-star recruit in the 2020 class — Mullings was ranked as the No. 152 player nationally and No. 10 outside linebacker.

Mullings senior year at Milton Academy in Boston was a stellar one, rushing for 371 yards with 22 touchdowns and 18 receptions for 289 yards and four touchdowns. Defensively, Mullings had two interceptions and two sacks. Mullings was selected as a participant in the All-American Game.

Mullings started to see the field in more frequency for the Wolverines last season, appearing in 13 games on special teams while receiving snaps at linebacker in 10 games. In all, Mullings had 11 tackles.

All eyes were on Mullings in the spring game in April, as Mullings received snaps at running back. Mullings made the most of his opportunity and had a couple stellar runs.

Outlook moving forward

Mullings may be a legitimate two-way player. He may be able to provide solid depth behind Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards at running back, adding more power to the running back rotation. Mullings and Tavierre Dunlap will be battling for the No. 3 spot on the RB depth chart. However, Harbaugh says Mullings has played well at linebacker as well.

“He was really more of an offensive player when he was in high school. Kick returner, running back. His arrow is way up at linebacker, too, now,” Harbaugh said. “He had a really good spring at linebacker, too now. He’s got the willingness, he’s got the intelligence. He’s got the skill set to be a two-way player.”

Michigan’s defense liked to rotate personnel on and off the field often in 2021, and that trend should continue this year. Mullings will likely be behind the likes of Michael Barrett and Jaylen Harrell, but he’ll still be able to make some noise on defense.

The fact that Mullings is playing running back once again like he did in high school is a positive development and should only strengthen Michigan’s running back room. There’s a legitimate chance that Mullings can make memorable plays on both sides of the ball this fall.