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IU football’s Tiawan Mullen heralded on Chuck Bednarik Award watchlist


Then-freshman defensive back Tiawan Mullen looks at the sidelines Nov. 16, 2019, at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. Mullen made 29 tackles in 13 games as a freshman. Colin Kulpa

Sophomore cornerback Tiawan Mullen earned a spot on the Chuck Bednarik Award watchlist on Monday. The award is given to the most outstanding college defensive player of the year.

Mullen, who was IU’s defensive newcomer of the year last season, made 29 tackles in 13 games as a freshman. Mullen finished second in the country in pass breakups among freshmen and tied for IU's team lead with two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He also led the Big Ten in pass breakups, while earning All-Big Ten honorable mention.

Mullen, who is from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was named a first team Freshman All-American by The Athletic and a first team true Freshman All-American by 247Sports in 2019. He was a second team Pro Football Focus All-Freshman Team flex defense pick.

According to Pro Football Focus, Mullen was also ranked in a tie for the highest graded returning Big Ten cornerback.

Mullen was among 11 sophomores to make the list Monday. The final award will be presented Dec. 10 as part of the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show.

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