Saline native Dylan Mulder had surprise freshman season as EMU placekicker
Dylan Mulder’s freshman season at Eastern Michigan started with disappointment, and finished with some success at an unexpected position.
Daniel Brenner | AnnArbor.com file
Mulder was recruited to Eastern from Saline High School as a kickoff specialist, and came into fall camp expecting to handle those duties as a freshman in 2012.
He struggled in the preseason, though, and found himself relegated to the bench for the first two games of the season.
But when fellow kicker Kody Fulkerson started struggling in field goals, Mulder found an opportunity starting in the third game.
“I was recruited to kick off here, and ended up not doing as well there,” Mulder said Sunday at EMU’s Media Day. “But I was able to help out kicking field goals here.”
“Help out” is an understatement. Starting with a 23-yard field goal against Purdue, Mulder made 10-of-11 field goals and was a bright spot in the Eagles’ two-win season in 2012. Three of those field goals were from 40 yards out or more.
Now, there’s no debate as to who has the starting placekicker job when the Eagles open the season Aug. 31 at home against Howard.
Mulder is expected to be one of the top kickers in the Mid-American Conference this year -- last month, he was one of 30 kickers in the country named to the watch list for the 2013 Lou Groza award.
It’s a role he’s been preparing for since sixth grade, when he began football kicking after playing soccer for several years.
At Saline, Mulder earned All-State honors and started preparing for a career kicking at a Division I program.
“I was able to play in front of big crowds there, and that’s helped me build my comfort to play here,” Mulder said. “It was great, we were a successful football team there, and I loved playing at Saline, it was great.”