Mitchell To Visit NC State?

A dual-threat athlete out of Amite (LA) High School, Brandon Mitchell enrolled at Arkansas in 2009 after a senior season where he totaled nearly 2,600 yards of offense with 39 total touchdowns and just five interceptions.

A dual-threat athlete out of Amite (LA) High School, Brandon Mitchell enrolled at Arkansas in 2009 after a senior season where he totaled nearly 2,600 yards of offense with 39 total touchdowns and just five interceptions.

A standout on the hardwood as well, Mitchell, who averaged 25 points and eight rebounds as a prep senior, inked with Arkansas over LSU, Michigan, Mississippi State and Tulsa among others.

He believes his basketball background has contributed to his success on the gridiron.

"My athleticism just comes from being able to play basketball," said Mitchell. "Growing up, that was my first love. But in football I believe I'm a natural pocket passer that can use my athleticism to improvise and extend plays."

After redshirting in 2009, Mitchell spent two seasons backing up talented quarterback Tyler Mitchell for the Razorbacks. He was set to do so again in 2012 before being moved to wide receiver so he could get his athleticism on the field.

In three years, he appeared in 21 games with three starts. Mitchell caught 17 passes for 272 yards, is 25-of-43 passing for 332 yards and two touchdowns and rushed 23 times for 75 yards and two touchdowns.

He knew when Wilson graduated that he would move back to quarterback and compete for the starting job in the spring, and a head coaching change seemed to open the door for a wide-open competition.

"Well, I definitely wanted to play quarterback and the situation wasn't ideal," said Mitchell. "We competed in the spring but the coaches said that they wouldn't announce a starter until the fall.

"Look, I only have six months basically left in my college career. Plus, with a new coaching staff it was going to be tough to put the rest of my career in that type of a situation... waiting to find out who will start."

This week Mitchell asked for, and was granted, his release by Arkansas. Even though he has only been on the market for a couple of days, various colleges are expressing interest.

"Really, it's all been from schools who need a quarterback this year, " Mitchell said. "I received a call from Michigan [on Wednesday]. That was a surprise call. I have NC State, Michigan, South Florida, UAB, Kent State, Lousiana Tech, Alabama A&M and Northwestern State."

What makes Mitchell so coveted is the fact that h will be eligible to play this fall because he is graduating in late June (his last day at Arkansas is June 28th).

The decision won't be easy and a big reason is because he has strong connections with a few of those schools. UAB head coach Garrick McGee was Mitchell's offensive coordinator at Arkansas prior to leaving for Birmingham in December 2011. Kent State head coach Paul Haynes was the defensive coordinator at Arkansas last fall before replacing Darrell Hazell at his alma mater.

Mitchell also has a strong connection with a member of NC State's football staff, head strength and conditioning coach Jason Veltkamp.

"Coach V., he's a great coach," Mitchell said. "I'm very familiar with him and his assistant, Brad Stewart. Coach V. was the only strength coach I had my whole career until this spring.

"He's old school in how he approaches things, but he is hard-nosed and made us work hard. He knows how to grind."

That relationship may have opened the door for NC State, and Mitchell admits that he has had recent conversations with head coach Dave Doeren and offensive coordinator Matt Canada.

In fact, the Wolfpack could be receiving his first official visit, this weekend.

"I've mainly been talking with the head coach and the offensive coordinator about the offense," said Mitchell. "I'm actually trying to take a visit there this weekend. We're working on getting that done, but I have about a 14-hour window to get some paperwork for them before plane flight and visit can be scheduled. We're working on that now."

What has Mitchell been hearing from the NC State coaches?

"They've been telling me what they have to offer," he said. "They said they have a great defense coming back and some young running backs that can really play. They have back a bunch of receivers and running backs returning plus some linemen.

"We've talked a lot though about how coach Doeren's offense went to the Orange Bowl last year, and coach Canada has had multiple 3,000-yard passers and 1,000-yard rushers... really strong offenses wherever he's been. They are going to have great balance, and with the way they run their offense, I think it fits my abilities and my talents."

Mitchell isn't in any rush to make a decision. He knows that he has to consider several factors because he has just one season of eligibility remaining.

"It's only been basically two days and I've just spoken to some coaches so I can't really have a leader yet," he said. "With this being such a big decision, I'm not going to make a rash choice. Even if I do visit NC State this weekend, I doubt I would commit because it's a process and I want to talk with my family first before making any decision.

"I'm going to mainly be looking at the quarterback situation. How long they've been there? How familiar are they with the offense? How long has the coaching staff been there?"

"Really, I just want an equal opportunity to come in there and prove that I can be the guy," he added. "I just want an ideal situation where I will have a chance to compete and show what I can do at quarterback. I'll be looking to do so in an elite conference if I can, like the ACC or Big Ten, but I just mainly have to make the best choice that I can."

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