For much of the year, Clemson’s secondary was considered their (relative) “Achilles heel.” Uneven performances against Texas A&M and South Carolina left fans worried as the postseason approached. Fortunately, Trayvon Mullen had truly came into his own, proved himself as Clemson’s best playmaker in the secondary, and helped the unit not only just be adequate, but play a positive role in holding Notre Dame and Alabama to a paltry 19 combined points in the Tigers two playoff games. So it’s right that we truly take the time to appreciate what he’s done holding down half of the field.
A unanimous four-star recruit hailing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Mullen followed along during a time in which Clemson started to finally see the fruits of its labor payoff in attracting skilled defensive backs to play in its aggressive, multi-faceted defense. Considered the No. 2 cornerback in the state of the Florida and its fourth-best player overall, Mullen avoided a redshirt and earned 115 snaps as a reserve in the Tigers’ 2016 national title campaign.
Mullen stood out above the rest of the corners as a sophomore and a junior, starting every regular season game for two years. Even during the tough times of 2017 when Clemson was short on numbers at corner, Mullen was always readily available. He put together a solid sophomore season, totaling 42 tackles, three interceptions, and seven pass breakups in 668 snaps. Despite being snubbed from the All-ACC team, it was clear that Mullen had the makings of a guy who’d probably be in the NFL after his junior year.
In his final season, Mullen continued locking down one side of the field while becoming a more physical tackler, totaling 37 tackles (including 4.0 for loss), four pass breakups, two sacks, and an interception in 701 snaps. This time around, he gained the recognition earning second-team All-ACC honors and second team-team ACFA All-American honors.
Mullen’s biggest and last moments in a Clemson uniform came on the biggest state against the Alabama Crimson Tide and its vaunted quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
First, he would come up with a timely interception in the second quarter that put an end to a crucial Alabama drive and help set Clemson up with great field position to set up a scoring drive.
Mullen didn’t just wreak havoc in the secondary. Thanks to a well-timed blitz (and Mullen fooling Tagovailoa into thinking he was playing man-defense), he was able to disrupt the lefty quarterback yet again.
Mullen was a big contributor in a secondary that needed a lock down corner. He was a critical piece of Clemson’s defense, especially in Clemson’s championship performance against Alabama. We wish him the best as he pursues a career in the NFL. A big thanks from us and the rest of Clemson faithful. We’ll always be rooting for you, Trayvon.