FFE Week 13 Player of the Week: Glenvar’s Cooper Mullins

Updated: Nov. 17, 2023 at 1:42 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Scoring 6 touchdowns in one game would be a career game for most high school players- and doing it in the playoffs is even more special.

The Glenvar Highlanders have a number of pieces that have led them to the region finals, including Cooper Mullins, our Player of the Week.

Eat, sleep, football, repeat. That’s the motto of Glenvar running back Cooper Mullins day in and day out. From waking up before the sun rises to train, to giving his all on the field under Friday night lights, Mullins’ work ethic has translated to his success on the field.

“Going into this offseason we knew he could be a player if he got in the weight room and he worked and he’s an extremely hard worker,” Glenvar head coach Kevin Clifford said. “He gets up at 4:30 a.m. several days a week to go work out. So that type of work ethic is obviously translated in his success.”

Last week, the Highlanders had a 56-0 shutout victory over Patrick County. Mullins had 15 carries for 90 yards in the game, scoring 6 touchdowns against the Cougars.

“I set standards for myself every game to at least get in the end zone a couple of times and not once did I ever think it was six, but I mean, it was definitely a crazy feeling,” Mullins said. “And I give, like I said, my line, they made it really easy for me. They made a bunch of holes and all I had to do was run through them.”

This is Mullins’ first season as a running back for the Highlanders. Last year as a freshman, Mullins said he played on the defensive side of the ball and he credits his team for helping him grow as a player this season.

“Last year being a freshman and playing defense, I was very intimidated and this year where I’ve gotten to play both sides, it’s very, I’ve grown a lot through my mental aspect of the game and my linemen have helped tremendously with that, because they’re always talking to me throughout the game, telling me to keep my head up if I make a wrong cut and it’s vice versa. I try and keep them up if they miss a block and we’re just, we just stay with each other throughout the whole game and stay calm and next play mentality,” Mullins said.

When he was about 6 years old, Mullins started playing football. He said he got into the sport through his dad.

“I give a lot of glory to him and my stepdad Rich,” Mullins said. “He wakes up with me at 4:30 in the morning to go to training and he is who I look up to. He has me where I’m at today in my life.”

In fact, his dad used to play 12 minutes up the road from Glenvar at Salem High School, and the rivalry runs deep between the two.

“Oh yeah, he always is talking about, oh, Salem football, Salem football, but nah. It’s all here. Glenvar,” he said.

Mullins said he’s been a running back his whole life. A big reason for that is the player he looked up to as a kid: Walter Payton.

“The things that he did were crazy. I mean, in my opinion, is the greatest running back of all time and he, he just found ways to do things that nobody else could do, and that’s who I look up to,” Mullins said.

Football wasn’t the first sport Mullins played. He started kicking around a soccer ball when he was just 4 years old, and he was a part of the Glenvar boys’ soccer team winning its first state championship last year. Mullins said playing soccer has helped him in many aspects on the football field.

“Playing soccer definitely has helped me tremendously with, like, my footwork and stuff for football, because I play defense in soccer and just trying to stay in front of the defenders and not let them get past me has helped with my tackling in football,” Mullins said.

Right now, though, it’s all about football for Mullins. When asked what he likes to do off the football field, he said…

“Training to play football, you know, I mean, it’s what I do,” Mullins said. “My days pretty much consist of football, school, training, sleep, of course, but you know, I mean, that’s got to be my favorite.”

Clifford said the thing he appreciates most about Mullins is how he is a steady player, a hard worker and good teammate.

“You learn to appreciate and respect that in any athlete when they show up every day with a lunch pail and are willing to work and put the team first, and he’s been willing to do that. So he understands that it’s not about him. You know, he was fortunate to score six touchdowns you know, which is an awesome accomplishment, but he understands that he puts it the right perspective,” Clifford said.