Mullen Excited About Opportunities at Notre Dame

Paddy Mullen was one of the first members of the 2006 Notre Dame recruiting class. Five months after his commitment to coach Weis, the excitement hasn't worn off and he's ready to get to campus to see his first game in Notre Dame Stadium.

Paddy Mullen would tell you that he hasn't had a complete game yet for DeSmet high school, but in one contest this season he returned a fumble 20 yards for a touchdown and also added nine catches for over 100 yards and two touchdowns on offense. Making plays is what the game is about. Have the Irish coaches told him what position he will be making plays from at Notre Dame?

"To me it really doesn't matter," he said. "Coach Weis has been great with it. He said defensive end or tight end, where ever I fit in with the team and help us win, that's where I'll play.

"I guess I'd say offense is where I'll play in college. Defensively I just don't get as much satisfaction as I do on offense. I love running passing routes; I love catching the ball and scoring touchdowns. I didn't play much offense last year at all, because I broke my hand, but this year it's great playing offense again.

"The earlier I can play the better," Mullen continued. "The way Fasano and the other guys are being used, it's really great to see that they're another receiver out there and not just another lineman like some teams use them as.

"At Notre Dame, Fasano is one of the main targets. He's had a solid year so far and has a bunch of receptions. He's definitely like another wide receiver. The tight end is usually the number one or two option, which is impressive and something I'm really looking forward to."

Everyone has heard the stories Charlie Weis has told recruits. It's no secret that he was tossing around his NFL credentials to recruits. It's one thing for a coach to tell a recruit how he intends to use a player and how he will improve a team when he hasn't coached a game – Weis even admitted that. It's an entirely different issue for the coach to actually go out and do it. According to Mullen, Charlie Weis seems to be holding up his end of the bargain.

"I've watched every single one of them," Mullen said of Notre Dame's games. "When I watch the games I look at the defensive ends and the tight ends. I look at the backfield; I look at the fullback because recently I've been moving between tight end and fullback on offense. I pretty much break them down. I tape them and sit here at home and go through them with my dad.

"Fasano is just a great leader on the field. Coach Weis has talked about his technique, he can block, he can catch and he can run; he's going to be a big-time player in the NFL. I know coach Weis has worked with him in the off-season and really made him the player that he can be.

"I can see myself going there and doing the same exact things. Coach Weis knows how to use his players and get the most out of them. He probably doesn't have the most talented group out there, but the way he uses (Rashon) Powers-Neal, (Darius) Walker and his receivers, the tight ends – just the way the entire offense works, it's amazing how balanced it is throughout the whole game. Stuff like that really impresses me.

"It's so balanced," described Mullen "He's running an NFL system, and if these guys playing for Notre Dame are talented enough to play in the NFL, they'll be so ready because they were prepared by him and the coaching staff he put together – it's just unbelievable really."

Most Notre Dame recruiting fans are familiar with Paddy's name, but few have seen him play, so I asked him to compare his game to a player, and describe what he will bring to the Irish offense.

"Definitely Fasano," he answered without hesitation. "I'm 6-4, 255, 260 (pounds) and I run a 4.7 forty. I can see myself in that type of role; running down the field, catching the ball and blocking. I really look up to Fasano. I watch him the most when I watch them play."

There will be several big recruiting weekends coming up for Notre Dame. The Irish will host its largest contingent of recruits for the USC game weekend as a number of big name recruits will be in town to watch the Irish battle the Trojans. Mullen will also be on campus as he returns for the first time since he committed in April.

"I'm coming up for USC for sure and toward the end of the season for Tennessee," Mullen said. "I can't wait. I haven't been to a Notre Dame game in my life. I've been a Notre Dame fan all my life being Irish Catholic.

"It was awesome the whole time I was there the first time. I had goose bumps the whole time I was on campus. It just has an aura about it as James Aldridge has said. The aura is just unbelievable; I don't think any school that I've been to has anything like it. It really shocked me.

"I like the real close family values, the campus and the tradition," he said about his reasons Notre Dame was an obvious choice for him. "I'll have the most opportunity at a place like that with the academics. If I'm surrounded by a bunch of people that are so competitive, trying to be No.1 in their class, it will just make me be more successful in academics and athletics. It's just the best place for me and I haven't thought of any place else since.


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