Mississippi Prep Star Likes ASU Visit

The Sun Devils rarely travel into the deep south for recruiting prospects. However, if their efforts prove fruitful, they will land one of the best payers in this region – defensive end Xavier Mitchell. In this exclusive DevilsDigest interview, Mitchell shares his experiences from his visit to Tempe.

The 6-3 245 defensive end is ranked 34th on TheInsiders.com South Hot 100 list, and is ranked third among all defensive ends in that region. His official trip to the Sun Devils' campus was his first official visit. Mitchell who was hosted by ASU linebacker Jamar Williams, stated that he enjoyed the various individuals he came in contact with. "I got along with the players and everybody else I met," he said. "I liked the facilities, and the weight room was real nice."

Prospects from Mississippi are rarely pursued by Pac-10 schools. Thus, Mitchell admits that he was shocked that the Devils contacted him very early in the recruiting season. "They called me the first day that colleges are allowed to call," Mitchell recalled. "That was the first time they contacted me. I never heard from them before, and I never got anything in the mail (Mitchell said that the first time he ever met an ASU coach in person was during his visit). I really didn't know what to think about it. I looked them up and saw that they're a good football team." The defensive end added that a scholarship offer from ASU came in late September.

His recruitment bears the obvious question – is he willing to go to a school located clear across the country? "I'm definitely open minded about playing far away from home," exclaimed Mitchell. "Sometimes going to college is about being mature, and being your own man." The others schools he mentioned that have offered and that are recruiting him heavily are Tennessee, LSU, Auburn, Mississippi State, Mississippi, and Southern Mississippi. Currently, he has a visit scheduled with Tennessee on 11/15, and he plans to trip to LSU sometime in January. Mitchell stated that he doesn't let all the extensive recruiting attention he's receiving bother him. "I don't mind it at all, I'm having fun with it."

Coach Harden is the head coach at Long Beach High School. We talked to him to get some perspective on this prized recruit and his skills. To no one's surprise he talked about Mitchell in very glowing terms. "He's a hard nose player and a class kid," said Harden. "He just turned 17, he's very raw, and he could get a little stronger. But he has all the tools he needs to succeed, and his best years are ahead of him. He's a very quick rush end." Harden estimated that his defensive end, who also plays linebacker at times, amassed close to 50 tackles and eight sacks in 2003. Last season, Mitchell claimed he had 70 tackles, six sacks, and one interception.

Mitchell, who is fully qualified, doesn't have a timetable for making his choice of where to attend school. "I'll probably end up taking all five visits. But, I don't know if I'll make a decision before I take all my five visits." When we asked him what factors will influence the decision on the school of his choice, he said: "How comfortable I am on campus, how I get along with the players and coaches, and depending on my major (which is between engineering or sports medicine) how well is the school in that field."

Actively recruiting a player located across the country presents its own unique challenges, and is undoubtedly more difficult than pursuing a prospect in a neighboring state. Nevertheless, judging by Xavier Mitchell's talent, suffice to say that end result would justify the extreme effort put in to his recruitment.

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