HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - "I think where [Nick Mullens] is right now he's better than Brett Favre was at that time," said former Golden Eagle and Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Favre. "What a great kid and just a tremendous leader. I'm very pleased with the fact that we have Nick Mullens as our quarterback."
Favre's sentiments about Southern Miss senior quarterback Mullens likely haven't changed since he made those comments in early September.
And Mullens, like many football players who grew up watching Favre, respects anything No. 4 says.
"Last year, before our first game [Favre] came and spoke to the team and it's always stuck with me, it really has," Mullens said. "He said, 'Literally nothing matters except what you do on the field.' People write about you, people talk about you. Literally none of that matters. The only thing that matters is if you do your job on the field."
Mullens has done much more than the job's required in his four seasons with Southern Miss. No. 9 passed Favre in all-time completions earlier this season before going on to break the USM records in passing yards (11,648) and passing touchdowns (85).
And despite the struggles of 2016, Mullens has kept battling, even toughing out a thumb injury in an October loss to UTSA that head coach Jay Hopson won't soon forget.
"It's the most amazing thing from a quarterback I've seen," Hopson said. "I remember the bone. I was sitting there and saw the bone pop out. [Mullens] said, 'Just push the bone back in and tape it. I'll see if I can throw the ball.'"
When the 2016 NFL draft rolls around, scouts may question Mullens' size and arm strength. But as long as he continues to embody the same toughness and passion for the game as Brett Favre did, there's no stopping Nick Mullens.
"Growing up watching [Favre] play, I could tell you that he would tell me to put my head down, keep working, be tough and have fun playing the game," Mullens said. "Because that's what Brett Favre did."
And that's what Nick Mullens did for four years as a Golden Eagle.