Among the recruits visiting Michigan State this weekend was a 3-star defensive end out of Harvest Preparatory School in Columbus, OH. He already has nine offers, including one from Wisconsin, and has interest from three more schools, all from the Big Ten. He’s 6’6” and 280 pounds and runs a 40-yard dash in five seconds flat. From the Class of 2018, let’s meet Isaiah Mullens.
“I really enjoyed it,” Mullens told Spartan Nation of his visit to East Lansing on Saturday. “I met Coach [Mark] Dantonio again – he’s a very laid back guy and I like that. I met the Defensive Line Coach [Ron Burton] and Coach [Mike] Tressel again and they’re all very nice guys. I enjoyed my time up there.”
“When I went up there they were practicing, and what I love is competition and a crazy atmosphere, and I like that about Michigan State,” Isaiah continued. “When you’re there, you can just feel it – you can feel how they compete and how they work – and they seem like cool guys to be around.”
Mullens was able to do something that not all recruits who visit campus get to do – spend a little time with Mark Dantonio.
“How laid back he is…he seems like a very quiet guy,” Mullens said of what stood out about Dantonio. “I talked to him and I’m thinking ‘this guy’s pretty cool!’ You meet other Big Ten coaches and they’re very enthusiastic and loud, but Coach Dantonio was just cool. I like that about him. He’s a very cool guy.”
However, MSU is not one of the nine teams to make Isaiah an offer just yet – the Spartans are in the group showing interest in him, along with Ohio State and Indiana. But he’s received formal offers from Wisconsin, Iowa State, Miami (OH), Akron, Bowling Green, Kent State, Toledo, Western Michigan and Youngstown State.
Part of what attracts these schools to a guy like Isaiah is his high motor. I mentioned before that he runs a 40-yard dash in five seconds flat. He also runs a shuttle in 4.86 seconds, and has a vertical jump of 25.3 inches. Those stats are impressive, but they didn’t come without a lot of work and effort on Isaiah’s part.
“I started off as a freshman at 215 [pounds]; I wasn’t really strong – I could barely lift 185, I could barely squat 225,” Mullens admitted. “But sophomore, junior year, I started working on getting stronger, using my hands more, flexibility, getting my core strong. Now, I’ve got a good wingspan – my wingspan is pretty long. I’ve just worked on my craft and what I can do to get better. But I’m still working on stuff, so the sky’s the limit!”
Beyond his athletic prowess, Isaiah takes extreme pride in his academics.
“I’ve got a 3.8 GPA right now,” he stated. “I got a 4.0 the first quarter of my school year, but it kind of slipped away a little bit. I got a 3.88 in the second quarter and a 3.8 in the third quarter, but in the fourth quarter I’m working on getting a 4.0 again. I’m very strict about my academics.”
Smart in the classroom, talented on the football field – can’t find a much better package than that in a recruit.
And he’s certainly on Michigan State’s radar. Mullens said that Mike Tressel went and saw him at school back in December, and plans to go back up there again this spring to watch Isaiah participate in a track meet.
As for whether or not Mullens has any timetable on making his choice, he admitted, “Me and my coach talked about when I want to make my decision, and I believe we said before football season before my senior year, just so we can get that out of the way and not have to worry about narrowing my schools down. So I believe right before football season I’ll start narrowing my choices down and choose where I want to go for the next four or five years.”
And Michigan State is a place that Isaiah Mullens can see himself spending those four of five years, not only improving between the white lines on the football field, but in the classroom and as a human being off the field.
Asked what a Spartan offer would mean to him, Isaiah admitted with zero hesitation, “It would be an honor.”