Keveon Mullins got a good taste of his future over the summer.
South Carolina offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon, in particular.
Rodney Saulsberry, Mullins’ coach at Whitehaven High School, watched the scene unfold.
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“Coach McClendon, he’s very personable,” Saulsberry said. “And he really worked Keveon and really challenged him when we were there at camp. And he responded well. They meshed very well. So their relationship is a positive one. I see great things with Coach McClendon.”
After a successful first regular season as USC’s OC, McClendon was rewarded with a significant raise on Dec. 18. A day later, Mullins officially signed to join him. The 6-foot-2, 207-pounder has been committed to the Gamecocks since shortly after Muschamp’s camp.
“It was the drill work,” Saulsberry said. “He pushed him in drills. ‘Hey, these are things we’re gonna be asking of you if you’re here.’ He challenged him, put him in different drills to see how he would adapt to the coaching he was given.
“And Keveon responded well to him personally and to the drills, the environment. It seemed natural.”
Mullins picked Carolina after de-committing from his hometown Memphis Tigers. His announcement came at the Rivals Five-Star Challenge in Atlanta, where ballyhooed quarterback Ryan Hilinksi, another future Gamecock, placed a USC hat snug on Mullins’ head.
Mullins went on to catch 24 passes for 500 yards and nine touchdowns as a Whitehaven senior.
“He’s an extremely hard worker,” Saulsberry said. “He’s extremely driven. The kid’s got a refuse-to-lose kind of mentality. He’s very passionate and he goes all in and all out for his team.
“Extremely impressed with how he performed this season. He could will you to win. And I just foresee greatness in his future as he moves to college football at South Carolina.”
With McClendon as his guide.
“The biggest thing is just the energy that Coach McClendon brings,” Saulsberry said. “You can tell that he’s energetic, very passionate about what he’s doing. And he’s seizing the moment with the opportunity of being the offensive coordinator his first year.
“I can only see things getting better for he and Keveon. They mesh very well.”