Indiana football head coach Tom Allen has always preached a family atmosphere in his locker room with a “Love Each Other” mantra, but now, a pair of brothers on the roster are taking the phrase literally.
Indiana All-American cornerback Tiawan Mullen’s younger brother, Trevell, committed to play for the Hoosiers prior to his senior high school season at Coconut Creek High School in Florida last year. A year later, and the four-star recruit is on the field and in the locker room with his brother.
The older brother, Tiawan, has taken his sibling under his wing since Trevell arrived on campus in June, showing him both love and constructive criticism depending on the situation.
“I’ve had to learn how to be a good cop and a bad cop,” Tiawan said. “When the coaches are good to him I’ll be bad to him, and when the coaches are bad to him I’ll be good to him, he understands.”
While Tiawan and Trevell are the only pair of actual brothers on the roster since Deland McCullough II, brother of Dasan McCullough, medically retired from football, the brotherhood extends far beyond blood for the Mullens.
While Tiawan takes the lead in mentoring and teaching Trevell, input from the rest of the team assists Tiawan in helping his brother adjust to Big Ten football.
“When other teammates are ripping him, they can rip him and I’ll rip him too,” Tiawan said. “He has 120 big brothers on this team.”
Tiawan and Trevell, both cornerbacks, run drills together in practice, have meetings at the same time and are lockermates, but the older brother says that their bond extends well-beyond the confines of football.
“Our brotherhood is tight,” Tiawan said. “You can ask anybody on the team. I’ll go to his dorm and I chill with him in his dorm. That’s my guy, that’s my right-hand man. He has a bright future, all he has to do is keep working, he’s around a great coaching staff. You guys will have something to look forward to in him.”
As complimentary as Tiawan was to Trevell as both a player and a person, Allen had just as much praise for the fourth-year cornerback.
“What a special guy, he has a tremendous combination of confidence, swagger and humility. His love, his work ethic,” Allen said if Tiawan. “Being a first team All-American is hard to earn, also first team all-Big Ten on his resume. But he also is a great spokesperson for who we are, he understands Indiana football, he understands the culture, he picked us for a reason.”
One Mullen brother enters the fourth season of his decorated IU football career and another starts what could be just as special of a time in Bloomington on Sept. 2 at home against Illinois, the first game together for this pair of brothers since their high school days in Florida.
While the matchup will mark a special moment for the brothers stepping onto the field together, Tiawan sees it as “just the next game,” and an opportunity for Indiana’s first Big Ten win since December 5, 2020 against Wisconsin.
“We’re not overlooking anybody and we’re not underlooking anybody,” Tiawan said. “I’m gonna be ready and the Indiana Hoosiers are gonna be ready.”
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