For most of his life, Marquette Academy’s Victor Mullen has almost always been the big man from the little school, but not anymore.
He’ll be playing with the really big boys from now on.
“I’ve learned to do the hard work and everything that you have to do to be successful right here at Marquette — hitting the weight room every summer, lifting during the season, going to practice prepared and on time, basically the discipline that Coach Jobst has instilled in us.
“All of that will definitely carry over to Louisville.”— Marquette Academy senior Victor Mullen
Mullen, who’s been a three-year standout in both football and basketball for the Crusaders with possibly one more year of those games to be played, has signed a National Letter of Intent to take the gridiron for the University of Louisville, the NCAA Division I FBS program and member of the prestigious Atlantic Coast Conference.
“I was invited to Louisville’s game against Clemson in 2019 and just fell in love with it,” said Mullen, the son of Laurie and Rick Mullen, of Ottawa. “I’ve been there several times after that, and every time it felt more like home. It was the coaches and the family atmosphere, kind of like here at Marquette. Everybody’s rooting for you and looking out for your best interests. The city’s awesome. The fans are awesome.
“It just feels like a big family.”
Mullen also believes that at Louisville he has a chance to see the field sooner than he would have at his other finalists, Appalachian State and Central Florida. In all, he received nine offers, but always came back to the familiar family feel at the Kentucky school.
“Ultimately, Louisville was my favorite one, so I took it,” he said.
Offensively a tight end for his entire career at Marquette, Mullen averaged 22 yards per catch and scored four touchdowns as a junior in 2019 for head coach Tom Jobst. He figures to still play there for Cardinals tight end coach Stu Holt, but doesn’t rule out the possibility of one day putting enough muscle onto his already substantial 6-6, 250-pound frame to eventually see action at offensive tackle.
Among the eight offensive recruits head coach Scott Satterfield’s Cardinals added on National Signing Day was another tight end on National Signing Day, Christian Pederson, of Burlingame, Cal., as well as three new offensive linemen: two much sought-after preps, Michael Gonzalez of North Carolina and Aaron Gunn of Pennsylvania.
There’s also an O-line transfer, Bryan Hudson, a 2019 freshman All-American for Virginia Tech.
“We’re very proud of Vic. He’s worked hard,” said Jobst. “In his time here with us, he’s overcome a lot of adversity, some injuries that other guys might have said, ‘That’s enough for me,’ but to Vic’s credit, he made it all the way back. That says something about him. That’s one of the immeasurables you look for in an athlete.
“You can measure height and weight, but you can’t measure heart until you get in that position, and Vic passed that test with flying colors.”
Mullen feels the lessons and work ethic he’s learned under Jobst at Marquette will serve him well at the next level and hopefully will help Louisville to another bowl game. It won the Music City Bowl 38-28 over Mississippi State in 2019, but dropped to 4-7 overall, 3-7 in the ACC, in 2020.
“I’ve learned to do the hard work and everything that you have to do to be successful right here at Marquette,” he said, “hitting the weight room every summer, lifting during the season, going to practice prepared and on time, basically the discipline that Coach Jobst has instilled in us.
“All of that will definitely carry over to Louisville.”
Mullen admitted he never seriously considered transferring to a neighboring state in order to play as others have done, but is still hoping to take the field again at MA’s Gould Stadium this spring.
“The pandemic sucks,” said Mullen. “Aside from one other kid from Illinois (4-star recruit Benjamin Perry, a safety on the 2019 7A champ Mount Carmel), all the other recruits signed (by Louisville) were from states that were still playing. You could see all their highlights popping up, and I’m just sitting here thinking, ‘We should be playing Seneca right now,’ or some other team, and we’re not. That sucks.
“Hopefully we’ll play in the spring here coming up. We’ll see.”