(article photo is Kirk Mullings' Facebook profile picture)
Several of Kirk Mullings' former teammates at Columbia University have contacted me to tell me that this very young alumnus has passed away at the age of 27.
I don't have the details on the cause of death, but I do remember Mullings well as a plugger of a player and as a great student who gave his all to Columbia.
Kirk came to Columbia from Mount Vernon High School in Westchester County, N.Y., where he was a star tight end.
But he did not come to Morningside Heights to play football...at first.
He walked on to the team his sophomore year in 2002, encouraged by a number of existing team members who knew him.
2002 turned out to be Columbia head coach Ray Tellier's last season. When Bob Shoop took over the next year, he converted Mullings to defensive tackle and he immediately became a key backup.
The 2003 season featured one of the best Lions teams of the last 20 years, and Mullings made an impact with three tackles for a loss. He went down in week seven against Yale with a broken leg, but worked hard to come back for the 2004 season.
In his senior year, he had 27 total tackles including a sack.
Mullings was a history major, a Dean's List student, and also a member of the parliamentary debate team. In past summers, he worked as a resident adviser for the Columbia summer school program for high school students.