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2015 Alabama Football Senior Salute: Richard Mullaney

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Wait...he just got here?!

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Richard Mullaney began his career as a three-star, unranked receiver from California, despite setting multiple receiving records for his high school during his senior year. Only one team offered the 6'3", 185-pound slot receiver a scholarship, Oregon State. While there, Mullaney played for (former Crimson Tider) Mike Riley with guys such as Brandin Cooks, Sean Mannion, and Luke Del Rio (starting to see the Alabama connections? They started early).

After a phenomenal 2013 season with the Beavers, nabbing nearly 800 yards, he had a very disappointing follow-up season his junior year. At the end of it, Coach Riley left the team, and Mullaney, a graduate student, had the option to transfer to any college in the nation and be eligible to play immediately. Richard Mullaney knew without a doubt where he was going: Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

The Crimson Tide was breaking in a new quarterback, while also trying to replace Amari Cooper and two other senior receivers, Christion Jones and DeAndrew White. Coach Saban knew that the new quarterback would need a veteran presence at receiver while young guys such as ArDarius Stewart, Robert Foster, and Calvin Ridley developed, and he did not hesitate to pull the trigger in offering Mullaney a spot on the team.

It didn't take long for Mullaney to break into the starting line-up as the Tide's slot receiver. He displayed sure hands and surgically-precise route running to quickly become Jake Coker's best friend. In the third week of the season, Mullaney had his best game of the season for Alabama. The Tide was struggling against Ole Miss, with the quarterbacks throwing interceptions on seemingly every drive, when Mullaney stepped up and gave the Alabama fans something to cheer about. He ended up with 7 catches for 61 yards and two touchdowns on the day, including this beauty:

Mullaney

After that day, Mullaney continued to grab a few key catches in every game, despite not being targeted or featured very often. His best catch of the year was probably this leaping touchdown grab against Charleston Southern:

Mullaney 2

All said, Mullaney was the third-leading receiver for the Tide with 34 catches and 308 yards, and was tied for first with Calvin Ridley with five touchdowns on the year. Despite never being a featured player in the offense, he was on the field almost every down, playing out of the slot, blocking in the backfield, and even returning kickoffs. He also helped stabilize a very young and inexperienced receiving group, and gave Jake Coker a security blanket all season.

So let's all give a good "Roll Tide" to the maddeningly consistent slot receiver, AKA: Slotty Pippen, who's mostly unsung contributions helped lead the Tide to their second consecutive Playoff berth...The only team in NCAA history to ever accomplish such a feat.

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Ed. Note: Mullaney is presently listed as the 24th-ranked slot receiver. His soft hands, coupled with good size (6'3", 209) and positional speed (4.56) have him projected as a 3rd day draft pick or UDFA.