Bobby Mulgado (Photo: ASU)
Walking in to Sun Devil Stadium, it won't take a fan's eyes very long to find the Ring of Honor.
Posted there are the names and numbers of the program's greatest talents to ever wear the maroon and gold. Among the inductees, Bobby Mulgado's No. 27 is proudly displayed, and marks one of the oldest--and most brilliant--careers among the honored.
Mulgado's Sun Devil career began in 1954, and he soon displayed the unparalleled versatility that would become his trademark.
He was primarily a running back, and while he never posted eye-popping numbers, his skill with the ball in his hands left him with few peers. He formed a lethal one-two punch with Leon Burton from 1955 through 1957. In 1956 Mulgado ran for 721 yards and six touchdowns and followed that a season later with 681 yards and eight touchdowns. Over that two year span, he averaged a sterling 6.1 yards-per-carry. For his career, he rushed for 2,003 yards and 21 touchdowns, while averaging 5.5 yards-per-carry.
Far from just a one-dimensional back, he also threw two touchdown passes and caught 16 passes for 339 yards in 1957, both figures second on the team to tight end Clancey Osborne.
Not just a threat on offense, Mulgado put the special in special teams.
In 1957, Mulgado scored twice on his 14 punt returns. He was truly dynamic in that role, and his 19.1 yards-per-return average that season led the nation.
Mulgado's feet were not just for running. From 1955 through 1957, he was the team's punter, averaging 35.8 yards-per-punt on his 75 kicks. He also had talent as a plackicker, and in 1957, he made 36 of 50 extra points and a field goal, which combined with his six rushing and two return scores gave him 93 points, second only to Burton's 96 in the nation.
Completing the triple-threat skillset, Mulgado intercepted a team-high six passes in that ultra-productive 1957 season, returning those for 113 yards.
Oh, and he was also a team captain. There was little that Mulgado did not do, and to the surprise of no one, Mulgado earned a spot on the All-Border Conference team.
Such was his excellence that his No. 27 was retired by the school immediately after his career in 1958. That is the sign of a brilliant career.
See the previous entries on House of Sparky's 100 day countdown here