Charles Mullen, a 6-4 1/2, 230-pounder with 4.8 speed in the 40 from Madison High School, said Sunday that he expects to sign with Auburn and join the Tiger football team this summer.
Mullen took an official visit to Auburn over the weekend along with offensive lineman Jason Bosley of Grissom High in Huntsville. Bosley signed with the Tigers last month, but had not taken an official visit due to conflicts with his wrestling schedule as he helped Grissom win the Class 6A state title.
Mullen has played linebacker, defensive tackle and defensive end, too, but is projected to be a tight end in college. The Tigers did not pick up anybody at the tight end position on National Signing Day when Darrell Strong from Plantation, Fla., High, a verbal commitment to AU, decided to go to the University of Pittsburgh to play quarterback for the Panthers rather than tight end at Auburn.
"I had a good visit to Auburn and I verbally committed although I haven't signed yet," Mullen said. "I had already set up a visit to North Carolina for next week and I want to take that." The journey to North Carolina is to check out North Carolina A&T.
Mullen says he watched Auburn practice on Friday and then again on Saturday at a scrimmage in Jordan-Hare Stadium. "I liked the players and the coaches," he said. "The weather was a little humid the first day, but after that it was great, " he said.
"I also got to see my brother (Marlin Manassa) on the trip. He lives in Georgia and he came over to visit me. He played football in college, too. He was a running back for San Diego State."
Mullen says he got plenty of attention on his trip to Auburn. "There were about a dozen people recruiting me," he said. "They gave me a tour of the campus. I am interested in veterinary practice or engineering and they told me Auburn is very strong in both."
He also got a medical checkup while at AU and noted that he got a clean bill of health from the team doctor concerning his broken fibula. "They checked and said it is fine," Mullen said.
"I see him as a tight end on the college level," notes Madison High coach Steven Minor. "He was at Lincoln High School last year and they closed down to refurbish the whole school. He came to our school this year as a new student and a new player to our program. He fit in absolutely fantastically. He's really done a great job.
"In my opinion, I have been coaching high school football for 32 years, he's a real good prospect," Minor said. "I think he's going to be a fine tight end. He's got really good hands. What separates him is that being in our program for just one year he was almost unanimously voted as The Most Inspirational Player on our team. The kids just loved him. He's just a great kid. He comes from a great family. His father is a minister. His mom is great. He's just a great kid."
After breaking the bone in his leg, Mullen returned to action after missing six games and earned All-Harbor League honors as a linebacker despite his limited playing time. Minor says the injury kept colleges from offering Mullen a scholarship earlier, but adds that Mullen began getting attention after he sent tapes of the tight end in action to college coaches.
"We had some people look and some were interested, but nobody offered him," Minor said. "I was very surprised because he's really a quality ballplayer. I'm sure the injury had something to do with that and the fact that he was coming from one school and went into another school. Not too many people knew about him until this year. I really don't know, but he's going to be a player."
Mullen's coach notes that the tight will be fine academically after getting the late scholarship offer with a grade point average around 3.0. He adds that Mullen also plays baseball, but the tight end plans to skip that sport this spring to get in the weight room and work on improving his strength.