Saturday morning, Ole Miss football kicked off its final day of spring ball by announcing the winner of the 29th annual Chucky Mullins Courage Award, C.J. Moore.
For the 29th consecutive year since his horrific injury on October 28, 1989, Ole Miss football has honored the late Roy Lee “Chucky” Mullins. Chucky was a hard-nosed nickelback who arrived on campus in the summer of 1988 under head coach Billy Brewer.
Chucky quickly became a firecracker on the Rebels’ defense and made his name known around the SEC. However, on Homecoming Night, October 28, 1989, his life changed forever when Chucky shattered four vertebrae in his cervical spine as he laid a hit on Vanderbilt tight end Brad Gaines. Chucky was immediately paralyzed.
His wonderful attitude and endearing charm made Chucky a huge public figure, and he inspired many across the football world and USA, alike. While in the hospital, Mullins received visits from the notables such as President George H. W. Bush, Janet Jackson, and Walter Payton, among many others. All who visited Chucky recognized a remarkable young man who displayed unwavering courage.
After many months in the hospital, Chucky returned to Oxford in August of 1990. He was determined to return to school and pursue his degree–which he did when he returned to the classroom in January of 1991
However, on May 1, 1991, Chucky unexpectedly stopped breathing and was rushed to the hospital, where he never regained consciousness.
On May 6, 1991, Roy Lee “Chucky” Mullins passed away.
The Chucky Mullins Courage Award
Since 1990, the Chucky Mullins Courage Award has been given to a special Rebel defender. That player is given the opportunity to don Chucky’s retired No. 38 jersey for the coming season. It is considered the highest award that an Ole Miss player can receive, and it is easy to see why.
Saturday morning, the M Club held the annual ceremony in the Indoor Practice Facility, where tribute was paid to Chucky. After comments by former Chucky Mullins Award winner, Kentrell Lockett and head coach Matt Luke, the winner was unveiled.
Senior DB C.J. Moore was announced as the 29th winner of the Chucky Mullins Courage Award.
— The Rebel Walk (@TheRebelWalk) April 7, 2018
The Bassfield, Miss. native grew up knowing all about Ole Miss football and the legacy of Chucky Mullins. After receiving his honor, Moore commented on what it means to him.
“Man it’s an honor to be able to go out and carry on the legacy of Chucky Mullins and wear the No. 38.“
When asked about how the award will change his approach this season, Moore said that he’s going to “…just go a little harder. I try my best to go hard now, but now I have to give it 120%, and push the guys a little harder.”
Luke on C.J.
Before unveiling the award, coach Matt Luke had a few words to say about C.J.
“He [CJ] has an infectious personality. When I step on the field, he gives me energy.“
Head coach Matt Luke on C.J. Moore
That’s high praise for a coach who seems to be fired up 110% of the time!
“I think if they asked Chucky if they got the right guy, he’d say ‘yeah you did,'” Luke added.
The career of the newest No. 38
In his freshman year, C.J. appeared in all 13 games for the Rebels as the team finished 9-4. He made 9 total tackles that year.
In 2015, C.J. became a bigger part of the Ole Miss defense, appearing in all 13 games again, making 19 tackles, and notching 2 pass deflections.
Adversity hit Moore in the fall of 2016, as he tore his pectoral muscle, which caused him to miss the entire 2016 season. However, he came back strong in 2017, appearing in 11 games. C.J. made 29 solo tackles, had 22 assists, 2.5 TFL, 2 pass deflections, and 3 INTs!
For his final season in the red and blue, C.J. will boast the No. 38, an award that he says he will rub in twin brother A.J.’s face “forever and always.”