4-star CB Mullen chooses IU over Nebraska, Pitt

Although he measures at a mere 5-foot-10 and 160 pounds, Tiawan Mullen has earned a reputation for playing bigger than his size indicates.

That’s allowed the Florida cornerback to climb the recruiting rankings as a coveted national prospect, one who plans to officially become a Hoosier in a matter of months.

In a significant recruiting victory for Indiana on Thursday, Mullen verbally committed to the Hoosiers over finalists Nebraska and Pitt. Per the Rivals database, Mullen is the second four-star commit to join IU’s 2019 recruiting class during the current cycle and one of the highest-graded recruits of the Tom Allen coaching era.

“They’re gonna get a tough, hard-nosed kid,” Coconut Creek football coach Gerald Cox told The Herald-Times. He’s got a heart of a lion. He’s not afraid to stick his head in there and he’s gonna go to war with the best of them. Size doesn’t matter.”

Mullen, who Cox said recently ran a 4.46 40-yard dash on grass, is considered the No. 43 corner in the country and the No. 46 overall prospect in Florida. He’s the second corner IU has picked up this cycle, joining Decatur Central three-star recruit Larry Tracy.

At various points during Mullen’s recruitment, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Michigan State, Louisville and Kentucky also extended offers.

Thursday’s announcement came less than a week after Mullen traveled to Bloomington for an official visit. Cornerbacks coach Brandon Shelby is credited as Mullen’s lead recruiter.

Cox said the relationships Mullen formed with those at IU ultimately pushed the Hoosiers to the top of his list.

“In my program, we teach relationships and family,” Cox said. “He really embraces that. Throughout this process, a lot of (schools) — not just Indiana — developed good relationships with him. I think it came down to who he felt most comfortable with. As far as the coaching staff and the type of scheme they play and his ability to get on the field early, all that stuff played a part in it. But the relationship piece was the biggest one.”

Mullen, who was recently named a U.S. Army All-American, gives Indiana the No. 47 ranked recruiting class in the country. He and four-star Carmel defensive end Beau Robbins are Indiana’s highest-rated recruits so far.

“He’s gonna embrace his teammates and he’s gonna push them,” Cox said. “He’s one of those kids that’s gonna come in early and he’s gonna be very vocal with how he feels the effort level should be. He’s one of those kids that’s going to up the defensive back room to another level.”


  1. Love and family atmosphere is culture change that T.A. is implementing regarding IU football. It had an impact on this recruit.

    1. Love and family atmosphere is culture change that T.A. is implementing regarding IU football.

      All rather meaningless in the long haul if you cannot produce winning football beyond Urinal Cake and Etch-a-Sketch bowls…..I also think it’s oversold when you don’t have expertise as a ground to stand on. I’m leery of retailers/auto repair shops that sell “our family atmosphere”…”we treat you like family”…”Christian values and philosophies”, etc. It usually means thin on the best workmanship, knowledge, selection, and expertise.

      I don’t want to be adopted. I want to win.

    2. This is a great recruit. He reminds me of Richard Fant, a four year starter and great IU recent grad! “Love and family” is totally authentic with Coach Allen!

  2. I see TCU in the frozen image of his YouTube clip…but not in your article. Did he get an offer from TCU? Nebraska has lost nearly all football prestige of old….There heyday in football was our heyday in hoops. Oh, how the time has flown by….
    I love ‘heart of a lion’ statements…but there is a point when size/force/physics simply rule the game. Are guys not growing as tall these days? Sometimes it’s sort of nice to have big dudes with big mitts to swat passes like pesky flies….along with somewhat blocking a qb’s opportunities to easily see downfield.

  3. Set aside a player’s ranking and how many stars some recruiting website assigns to a kid, when you’re beating out several SEC and prominent Big Ten teams in the recruitment of football players, it is a sign IU Football is on the rise.

    If his reported weight is correct, he’ll need to gain about 20 lbs. in the next year.

  4. MSU is quickly losing its prominence…But I suppose we should look at the positives when getting guys recruited to be backups by, traditionally, better programs.

    Such “progress” would never cut it in hoops. The dripping faucet of slightly better talent will quickly be turned off if a corner isn’t quickly turned. How do you turn corners quickly? Take chances..with the higher talent you’ve been lucky enough to secure(along with the momentum Wilson brought with NFL running backs putting us slightly on the map). Higher talent means Penix. Open things up. Let other recruits know this isn’t OSU. If you have talent, seniority is set aside. You will play now.

  5. He is an impressive player on tape as he reads routes and breaks quickly to get INTs. I hope IU’s start of the season can keep getting better, hopefully 5-0 by the OSU game, encouraging more top recruits to commit to the Hoosiers. The concerns about PU recruiting v IU are misfounded as the average score on commits is higher for IU.

  6. I hope IU’s start of the season can keep getting better, hopefully 5-0 by the OSU game

    And that truly is the key, v-13…along with making some inroads in the conference standings. And this is why it is so imperative to put the highest talent on display…rather than inserting a guy into an OSU game after the “steady as she goes” recruit gets banged up. We must take the risk with the potential rewards of getting a guy like Penix into early and frequent action. The old formulas are drippy faucet hopes are easily shut down if losses mount per usual. Guys can also decommit. Play the talent! …Taylor, Penix, etc.

  7. Huh? Scout has PU 26th IU 48th. 247Sports has PU 25th IU 48th. Rivals has PU 23rd IU 47th. ESPN has PU 26th IU 49th.

    1. I keep hearing how Purdue killed it with their new coach and how they are the next big thing yet, on the field, they lost to a crappy Northwestern team followed by a loss to an even crappier Eastern Michigan team.

      Even though they play in the little sister Big Ten West, those two might be the two worst teams they will play.

      Brohm will either change the trajectory soon or be exposed.

    2. Those rankings are only because PU has 21 commits while IU is still working on building their commitments with 14 commits. You need to understand how the rankings work and what goes into the rankings.

      1. v13, so right. Important factors many fans don’t regard in looking at recruiting rankings. Makes me laugh a little.

  8. IU must start building depth at all positions. Conf games beat us up and we crawl to try and make ourselves bowl eligible. Until you have depth, the program stagnates along with fan base.

  9. I agree CaliHoosier, but if Purdue keeps losing, I’ll bet some of their best verbally-committed recruits will rabbit before early signing day.

  10. Yes, recruiting better talent builds depth, which is the key. In years past, IU’s starters were good, but when one went down, the guys behind them represented a big drop off in talent and/or experience, and then things started going to hell.

    A winning season and the facilities improvements will significantly improve recruiting. Now, if IU could just fill Memorial Stadium for the home games…..

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