To prepare for his freshman year at defensive end, Anfernee Mullins gained 25 pounds from his playing weight at Aliceville (Ala.) High School up to 270 by the end of the fall at Mississippi State.
Just as he was getting adjusted to his new size, Mullins was asked to morph his body once again as the Bulldogs’ new defensive staff decided to utilize him at the new “viper” position – a hybrid defensive end/ outside linebacker.
“It was basically coach (Peter) Sirmon coming in and wanted to try something new,” Mullins said. “At first I was bit scared of it but now I have a better approach and am just going with it.”
Mullins shed 10 pounds on his 6-foot-3 frame before the start of spring practice to better adapt to his new role and had a sack during MSU’s first spring scrimmage.
“It was just a transition going from d-end to outside linebacker and going out there and covering our fast slot wide receivers,” Mullins said. “It was a big transition but I learned each and every day.”
Mullins admitted that he struggled initially with the idea of redshirting back during the fall. After all, he had dominated at the prep level totaling 133 tackles and 24 sacks over his final two seasons.
But Mullins came to terms with the coaches’ choice to redshirt him and learned some patience in the process.
“It was a smart decision,” Mullins said. “At first, I didn’t like the role but I learned over time that patience is the key.”
The former three-star prospect picked up offers from Louisville, Memphis, Middle Tennessee State, Southern Miss, Troy, UAB and Western Kentucky during the recruiting process. He was also briefly committed to South Alabama, a team he could possibly make his collegiate debut against on Sept. 3.
Mullins has no regrets about flipping his pledge and choosing the Bulldogs.
“I’ve been happy here and couldn’t see myself anywhere else,” Mullins said. “My freshman class is close and has been since we came in. If anybody needs anything, we’re there for each other.”