ESPN 150 linebacker Mike Mitchell (Plano, Texas/Prestonwood Christian) is like a heat-seeking missile when attacking opposing offenses, accumulating more than 120 tackles in the first seven games of his senior season.
But as ferocious as he is on the field, he might be even more elusive off the field. Mitchell, who is 6-foot-4 and 216 pounds and ranked No. 121 in the ESPN 150, is one of the most sought-after uncommitted prospects but one of the quietest when it comes to his recruitment.
That’s about to change. Mitchell said he intends to take his first official visit this weekend to Texas A&M to see the Aggies take on LSU.
“The Aggies have been in the process since the beginning,” Mitchell said. “They’ve been wishing me best of luck all the time, even if I don’t go there, they’ve been saying they’ll be rooting for me.
“I know they have a tradition of packing it up and going crazy on game day, so I definitely want to get a chance to see that in person.”
Mitchell was expected to be in Dallas last weekend for the Red River Rivalry between Oklahoma and Texas but decided to stay home. It was homecoming for Plano Prestonwood Christian and combined with a grueling academic week, he wanted to relax.
But that doesn’t mean he didn’t have a lot of fun watching the Sooners' dominant 63-21 victory against the Longhorns on television.
“I know Mike was impressed,” said Ken Mitchell, Mike’s father. “The difference was coaching. You could tell how bad those OU coaches wanted that game. They had everybody prepared, and it showed. It was a great performance and OU deserves to stick its chest out after a game like that.”
Mike Mitchell said he is down to four schools: OU, A&M, Ohio State and Oregon. A lot of the talk has centered around the Aggies and Sooners. Not necessarily because they’re the clear-cut favorites but because they’re the two schools closest to home and the ones with which he's most familiar.
To go along with this weekend’s visit, Mitchell has already seen the A&M campus before. He got a chance to see the OU campus for the first time during the summer.
“What I like about OU is the coaching staff. When I went there, I had a long talk with Coach [Bob] Stoops,” Mike Mitchell said. “He’s a nice guy, and it was a real good talk about where I fit in and how much OU would love to have me play there.
“Obviously they’re a great program, and it was good to see their training program and what they would do to help me get better.”
It’s tough to imagine Mike Mitchell getting much better, especially after dominating at the Dallas Nike Camp in March and being even more impressive at The Opening in July where he was crowned the national SPARQ champion. He capped off the summer by running a 4.39 40-yard dash in the SPARQ competition.
What made those performances even more special was the fact it was the first time Mitchell had been to an elite camp. For the most part, the Mitchell family has done things their own way. Ken played in the NFL and all nine of his kids have had some sort of athletic success.
The national events helped Mike learn he could compete on the national stage.
“The experience was incredible,” Mike Mitchell said. “Those were some of the best athletes from across the nation. I got to see the competition that’s out there from Florida, Texas and California and places like that. It was a great test.”
Now the test is getting Mike Mitchell to see Eugene, Ore., and Columbus, Ohio. He said he has built a great relationship with Ohio State coach Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes have made it clear how much they want him in the scarlet and gray.
Mitchell is hoping to make an official visit to Ohio State in November but things can change quickly when it comes to visits.
“I always say ‘plan’ because you never know, right? He’s a high school kid, a teenager and things change,” Ken Mitchell said. “And if something were to happen Friday night during his game where he got hurt or something, that would change things, too.”
Mike Mitchell wouldn’t reveal who his favorite is at this point, but it’s clear he has one.
“I have one in my head, but I haven’t seen all the schools yet,” Mike Mitchell said. “I feel like I’m just a couple of official visits away from being done with everything.”
Either way, there is no wrong choice for the Mitchell family.
“He could screw this up and is still going to end up at a great, great program,” Ken Mitchell said. “I mean, how do you pick among these schools? It’s a blessing. Right now he’s so focused on his senior season, but he realizes what a great opportunity he has.”