Mullins Shines Before Minor Injury

GREENSBORO, N.C. --- Early in the fourth quarter of the NCCA East-West All-Star Game, North Carolina fans in attendance received a scare. After blocking a linebacker on a sweep play, UNC signee Aleric Mullins went down clutching his left shoulder.

"I just twisted it a little bit, that's all – nothing big," said Mullins. "I tried to block on the sweep and I took the block wrong."

Mullins, a 6-foot-2 295-pounder from Wendell (N.C.) East Wake, was examined by trainers and then sent back out a few plays later. When the pain persisted, Mullins' shoulder was iced and he sat the sidelines for the reminder of the night.

With Mullins, who served as a team captain, limited to being a vocal leader, his East team received a couple breaks and turned a 28-7 blowout into a 28-20 game.

With less than a minute left, East quarterback Kevin Atkins connected with Darren Obaji for a 70-yard touchdown. The East squad went for the two-point conversion to tie the game, but fumbled the snap. Failing to recover the onsides kick sealed the game for the West All-Stars.

The play before his injury, Mullins was plugged in at one of two fullback positions in a goal line formation. After the snap, he was actually handed the ball and rushed for a one-yard gain inches away from the goal line.

"I didn't [think we were going to run that play]," said Mullins. "I just know I had to do whatever it takes. I took the ball and tried to make something happen."

As expected, though, Mullins' day was spent mostly on defense where he started at left defensive tackle in the East squad's 5-2 formation. He ended the night with four tackles (two solo) and one forced fumble.

"It was kind of hard adapting to the gap control and they were kind of running away from me, but I kind of gotten used to that," said Mullins. "My high school team, they move me around so that I can make plays."

Mullins recently discovered that he has qualified and will be beginning his North Carolina career in two weeks.

"Everything is good with Carolina," said Mullins. "I'll be enrolling on the third [of August].

"I talk to the coaches every day. [They are telling me] to be in shape and be looking to play a lot this year."

At the very least, Mullins expects to see plenty of time in a reserve role.

"Right now, they are talking every third down I'll be out there," said Mullins. "But, I'll definitely have a chance to start. When I come in I'm number two on the depth chart already."

A Scout.com four-star prospect, Mullins is the 31st ranked defensive tackle in the nation by Scout.com.

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