Following the 2014 Alabama football season, one of the areas of some concern had to be wide receiver where Bama had lost first team All-America and Biletnikof winner as nation’s best receiver Amari Cooper. That wasn’t all. The Crimson Tide was also without Christion Jones and DeAndrew White in a rebuilt offense.
Alabama preseason predictions penciled in the likes of ArDarius Stewart, Robert Foster, Chris Black, Cam Sims, Raheem Falkins, and Derek Kief, and also held out hope for true freshman Calvin Ridley.
There was basically no mention of Richard Mullaney, a 6-3, 208-pound graduate transfer who had played three years at Oregon State for former Alabama player Mike Riley. Mullaney arrived in late summer, not participating in spring practice.
Bama’s wide receiver situation didn’t improve in the early going with Foster going out with injury in the third game and Black in the sixth, both lost for the year. (Black has since announced his intention to transfer.)
Stewart came on strong, finishing the season with 54 receptions for 600 yards and four touchdowns. Ridley was all that anyone could have expected, leading Alabama with 75 catches for 893 yards and five touchdowns and earning Freshman All-America.
The surprise starter, taking over the slot position, was Mullaney. Not only was he a late arrival to Alabama, but at Oregon State he had battled injuries. In three years he played in 28 games with 12 starts, but was productive with 83 receptions for 1,160 yards and five touchdowns.
When Alabama opens the game with three receivers, Mullaney is in the lineup. He has played in all 13 games as Bama has a 12-1 record, and he has started six.
He got his fifth touchdown reception for Alabama in his most recent game, taking a nine-yard pass from Jacob Coker (also a graduate transfer) that put the Tide up by three scores in Bama’s 29-15 win over Florida to give Alabama the Southeastern Conference championship.
Those five TD receptions tied Ridley for the team lead going to the Cotton Bowl game against Michigan State on Dec. 31 in the semifinal round of the College Football Playoff.
Mullaney, a native of Thousand Oaks, Calif., is Alabama’s third-leading receiver with 34 catches for 308 yards. He has been a clutch receiver with 22 of his receptions going for either a touchdown or first down. He has at least one pass in every game. He is the only Tider to have two touchdown receptions in one game this year, getting them with his season-high seven catches for 61 yards against Ole Miss.
He also appeared as a kickoff return man with 2 runbacks for 26 yards and on punt returns with 2 returns for 30 yards
Prior to the start of the season, Alabama Coach Nick Saban said, “I think Richard Mullaney has been a really good addition because of his consistency and great hands, very seasoned, veteran guy who has played a lot of football. He’s consistently made plays in practice and scrimmages.”
Black, who would lose his job to Mullaney, also took note of the newcomer in preseason. “He looks pretty good,” Black said. “He’s picked up on the offense pretty well, and molded in with the rest of the guys in the receivers’ (meeting) room.”
Following the season, Mullaney joined linebacker Denzel Devall at the Alabama Awards Banquet, receiving the Pat Trammel Award, which goes to a senior “whose character and contributions to the Alabama football team most personify the All-America youth of today, and has reflected qualities of integrity, character, importance of academics, and inspirational leadership.”