Travyon Mullen hates to lose.
Clemson’s second-year cornerback has been that way since he started playing football when he was 5.
Mullen hasn’t found many people who can match his competitiveness on the football field, but he says a guy he faces off against every day in practice can.
“Deon Cain, we get each other better,” Mullen said. “I feel like we compete every time we go against each other because I don’t like to lose, and he’s definitely a guy that doesn’t like to lose.”
Cain has the upper hand on Mullen thus far, at least in terms of production on the football field.
Clemson’s junior wideout had 724 receiving yards and nine touchdowns for the Tigers this past year, finishing second on the team in touchdown catches and leading Clemson in yards per catch.
Mullen played in 13 games and posted 15 tackles, but he expects to get more playing time in 2017 and is planning on taking advantage of it.
“Right now, I’m in a good position as far as having a big role on our defense,” Mullen said. “I know a lot more. I’ve gotten more comfortable trusting myself, and I feel like coaches trust me as well.”
Mullen also has been working to channel his competitiveness and use it to help his team instead of hurt it.
At Coconut Creek High in Florida, he sometimes would be too aggressive and get penalties, but he has matured and does not expect that to be a problem in the future.
“I know coach (Dabo) Swinney will get on you,” Mullen said. “He doesn’t want that. And I wouldn’t want to put my team in that situation. I wouldn’t do anything to mess us up.”
Other Clemson receivers and defensive backs like the daily competition.
“Every receiver is different, every receiver has their own thing that they do well. We’ve got speedy guys, shifty guys, big guys. It’s real fun to get out here and get that different type of work because it makes game day a lot easier,” junior cornerback Mark Fields said. “ As a DB, when you’re guarding a receiver like that, you better have a different approach on each guy because they’re all different.”