09/26/12 — Healthy Mundle making impact for CBA

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Healthy Mundle making impact for CBA

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on September 26, 2012 1:48 PM

After sitting out his junior year and with just one season left to catch the eye of college recruiters, it would have been easy for AJ Mundle to begin thinking about himself.

Mundle gave up on easy a long time ago.

A complete tear of the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during a summer passing league game left Mundle sidelined for his entire junior season in 2011. With the support of the Charles B. Aycock coaching staff and his teammates, Mundle dedicated himself to relentlessly working to get back into the shape he was in before the injury.

"When I first found out I tore my ACL and I had surgery I didn't know if I was going to come back," Mundle said. "My coaches and teammates stood behind me. The physical therapy went great. I knew this was a minor setback for a major comeback, and I had to be patient and just keep working."

Early this season, Mundle's production has been limited as opposing defenses have double-teamed him in pass coverage or bumped him as he comes off the line of scrimmage. Rather than get discouraged by his lack of touches, Mundle bought in completely to his role as a blocking tight end in the Golden Falcons' zone read offense.

His importance as a blocker showed up significantly during last Friday night's 28-26 overtime win over North Lenoir. Mundle's ability to set the edge allowed tailback Jeremy Hooks to rush for 126 yards and a touchdown.

"The tight end's responsibility in the zone read really is to set the edge," Aycock head coach Randy Pinkowski said. "He can turn his man to the sideline or turn him back inside and the back has to read that. AJ has the strength to do that and the athleticism in his feet to stay on his defender. He is the most complete tight end I've had in 25 years of coaching."

Mundle's selfless play and his patience with the offense was rewarded in the win over the Hawks' as he caught three passes for 49 yards and two touchdowns.

A 6-foot-1, 225-pounder who runs the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds, Mundle possesses the speed to break away from linebackers and the size to out-muscle defensive backs in pass coverage. Aycock took advantage of North Lenoir's blitzing linebackers who vacated the middle of the field and presented Mundle with the opportunity to make big plays.

"To be able to contribute like that felt good," Mundle said. "I was able to come off the ball and nobody was in the middle of the field. It seemed like it was all paying off that night."

With Mundle presenting a threat in the passing game, Hooks finally healthy and producing and quarterback Austin Snowden making plays with his feet and arm, Golden Falcons' fans got a glimpse of the offensive's full potential in the second half against North Lenoir.

"I think we are at about full strength offensively for the first time all season," Pinkowski said. "This is the time to be doing that. If we can continue to get offensive consistency to go with how well our defense is playing we can be a headache."